US 3890054 A
A highway reflector for mounting within sockets formed in highways, such highway reflector having a plurality of upwardly extending resilient fingers which can be bent by vehicular structures, including snowplow blades, without damage. Such upwardly extending resilient fingers resume their original positions following contacting removal of the vehicular structure. The resilient fingers have a reflective material, such as an incorporated fluorescent dye, and such fingers extend upwardly from a base having elastomeric portions so the reflector can be compressibly fitted within the highway socket.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O United States Patent H 1 in] 3,890,054 OConnor June 17, 1975 FLEXIBLE HIGHWAY MARKER  Inventor: Sean E. OConnor, i309 Redwood f' l Ln Libenyvme L 60048 Assrstanl Exammer-Steven Hawkins  Filed: Apr. 1, 1974 57 ABSTRACT  App]. No.: 456,526 A highway reflector for mounting within sockets formed in highways, such highway reflector having a  U S Cl 404/10 404/14, 404/16 plurality of upwardly extending resilient fingers which ] b 9/00 can be bent by vehicular structures, including snow-  Field 40/134 plow blades, without damage. Such upwardly extending resilient fingers resume their original positions following contacting removal of the vehicular structure.  References Cited The resilient fingers have a reflective material, such as UNITED STATES PATENTS an incorporated fluorescent dye, and such fingers ex- 2. .323 2/l 56 k 0 /10 tend upwardly from a base having elastomeric por- 2,9l0,792 l i959 Peafe, .ll' 7. 40/134 tions 50 the reflector can be cumpressibly fined within 3.328.332 3x32; Mahoney 404/10 the highway socket 3,502,007 3/1970 Anderson 404/l0 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUN 17 I975 890,054
3/ FIG. 5 FIG? 1 FLEXIBLE HIGHWAY MARKER This invention relates to a highway reflector which can be deflectively contacted by vehicular structures without damage. The invention particularly relates to reflective material which is associated with a plurality of upwardly extending resilient fingers which reflect oncoming light and which can be deflected by a snowplow blade without damage.
Reflectors have been used on highways, by which is meant roadways of all types receiving vehicular traffic; and such reflectors are generally located along lane divider lines and shoulder areas. A commonly recognized problem involves the use of such highway reflectors where climate is intemperate requiring snow removal. Such snow is removed by plows mounted on tractors or trucks, and the blade of the plow dislodges or damages such highway reflectors when formed from substantially rigid materials. Such highway reflectors or pavement markers are shown, for example, in US. Pat. No. 3,332,327.
One object of the present invention is to provide a new highway reflector which can be used in intemperate climates so that snowplows may be operated without damaging or dislodging a highway marker of improved design.
Another object of the present invention is an improved highway marker or reflector which is securely positioned against ravaging water effects under extreme temperature conditions, while having resilient features which allow snowplow blades to deflect but not to damage the reflector.
Yet another object of the present invention is an improved highway reflector in which resilient upstanding fingers have reflectors associated therewith which may be surface mounted or which may be fluorescent compounds incorporated within the fingers, such fingers being reflectively perceived by lighted oncoming traffic, but such fingers being deflectible and returnable to original position following any structural contact with such traffic.
Still yet another object of the present invention is an improved highway reflector which can be economically molded as a simple assembly or an integral unit while realizing advantages in use with respect to efficient reflective properties and continued operation following contact with vehicles, including snowplow blades.
The above objects are now attained together with still other objects which will occur to practitioners upon considering the invention in the following disclosure, including drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration showing the improved highway reflectors in place, with the scale being distorted to enlarge the representation of the reflector;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the highway reflector;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of the reflector of FIG. 2 in place;
FIG. 4 is a schematic elevational illustration showing deflection of resilient fingers by a snowplow blade;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of an embodiment of a resilient finger;
FIG. 6 is a top elevational view of the finger shown in the view of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view in elevation of an alternative embodiment;
FIG. 8 is a top elevational view of the embodiment of the view of FIG. 7; and
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment which includes resilient fingers shown in the views of FIGS. 7 and 8.
The improved highway reflectors are generally shown at 14 in the schematic illustration of FIG. I, in place in a highway or roadway. Looking now at FIGS. 2 and 3, the improved reflector is seen as positioned in place in a socket 16 formed in the highway 12. In such socket is placed a base member shown as including a continuous elastomeric water-proof liner or shell 18, which continuous sidewall follows the configuration of the socket 16. Such liner may include a bottom wall which, however, is not shown in these views.
The illustrated base member includes a support body 20 which is shown as filling the liner relative to the volume it defines by the area of the wall and the depth of the liner. The body support may be elastomeric or be substantially rigid. In another embodiment, not illustrated, the base member may be a unitary body of elastomeric material. Such base member is slightly oversized relative to the socket so it is compressively fitted therein to eliminate spaces for water accumulation, thus diminishing chances for damage from freezing and thawing.
A plurality of substantially like resilient fingers extend upwardly from the space member, that is, the support body thereof. One of such fingers is designated by the identifying numeral 22. In the preferred form, the resilient fingers are densely grouped into a bristle assembly, the individual fingers being randomly staggered relative to one another as illustrated.
A reflective material is associated with such fingers, and one preferred embodiment is to provide a fluorescent compound impregnated in the resin which is molded to form such fingers integrally with the support body. It is also desirable to incorporate an ultra violet absorber material, prior to molding, so the fluorescent compound does not unduly lose its effectiveness from exposure to sunlight. In another embodiment, reflective elements 24 can be distributed along the surface of the resilient fingers which in FIGS. 2 and 3 are shown as substantially flat and opposite faces. The reflective elements 24 may be of the reflective tape widely available on the market. Reflective elements may be embedded in the resin material which can make up the body of the resilient fingers.
The frozen dynamic illustration in FIG. 4 schematically shows a snowplow blade 26 deflecting a plurality of resilient fingers 22 into various conditions of deflection and recovery from deflection. As illustrated, the resilient fingers resume their original position after the plow deflects such fingers, the direction of the plow blade 26 being to the right relative to the view of FIG. 4.
The resilient fingers shown in the views of FIGS. 5 and 6 includes a tapered ovoid body 28 having a lower angular insert 20 displaying angle locking points 31. The insert 30 is adapted to be force fitted into a slit in a body support member which, however, is not shown.
The views of FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 show a resilient finger having a tapered cylindrical body 32 which is integrally formed with a support body 33 of a base member which includes a separately formed elastomeric liner 34. The elastomeric liner 34 in the embodiment of FIG. 9, as well as the elastomeric liner 18 in the embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, may be compressively mounted between the socket wall in the highway and the substantial rigidity of a support body 33 or 20. If the support body is likewise elastomeric, then the base member as a unit is compressively mounted within the socket. Practitioners can use readily available fluorescent compounds and different resin materials which are molded in various ways, including extrusion and casting. The practitioner will readily determine which fluorescent compounds can be readily incorporated for distribution throughout the body of the resin material, whether fingers alone or fingers and base where integrally molded. The known fluorescent compounds reflect colored light of different kinds when excited by white light. Among the fluourescent compounds excited by white light are included anthracene, eoisin, fluorescein, resorcin blue, rhodamine, and the like. The skilled practitioner will readily determine the amount of fluorescent compound to incorporate to attain desired reflective action while still maintaining the desired properties of the molded resilient fingers.
Useful organic ultra violet absorbers which can be selected by the practitioner include substituted 2- hydroxy benzopenones or salicylates.
The highway reflector is an above surface marker although mounted in a formed socket in the highway. The bristle assembly of the preferred form results in a brush-like appearance. The resilient fingers are formed to be tough and are combined with a base member of a weather resistant configuration to withstand temperature extremes. The fluorescent compounds may be color coded to conform with traffic marking requirements, or additional color coding dyes may be added. In the preferred form, the base member is press fitted into the sockets which may be predrilled holes in the roadway. The elastomeric lining may be synthetic rubber material and may first be used to line the socket before inserting the support body. A unitary base member may likewise be press fitted into the socket.
Various dimensions and configurations may be provided for the markers. The base member may be even with the surface or slightly below the surface. The resilient fingers will extend upwardly above the surface of the roadway to distances varying from about inch to about 2 A inches.
The claims of the invention are now presented and the terms of such claims may be further understood by reference to the language of the preceding specification and the views of the drawings.
What is claimed is:
l. A highway reflector for mounting in a formed highway socket, including a base, said base having a supporting body with continuous sidewalls, at least said sidewall portions being elastomeric,
a plurality of densely grouped and relatively stag gered resilient fingers extending upwardly from said supporting body, and
a reflective material associated with each of said resilient fingers.
2. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 1 wherein said plurality of upwardly extending resilient fingers have opposite, substantially flat sides, and said reflective material being distributed along the surfaces of such flat sides.
3. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 1 wherein said reflective material is a fluorescent compound distributed in each of the resilient fingers.
4. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 3 wherein said fingers and base are molded from resin, and said fluorescent compound is incorporated within the resin prior to molding.
5. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 4 wherein said resin material also includes an ultra violet absorber incorporated into the resin prior to molding.
6. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 1 wherein at least said elastomeric sidewall portions are a separately formed elastomeric liner, the remainder of said supporting body filling said liner, and said upwardly extending resilient fingers being mounted on the supporting body which fills said liner.
7. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 6 wherein the supporting body within the liner and said resilient fingers being integrally molded from resins.
8. A highway reflector which includes the features of claim 7 wherein said plurality of resilient upwardly extending fingers are densely grouped as a bristle assembly, said reflective material being a fluorescent compound distributed throughout the resin prior to molding, and said resin further including an ultra violet absorber.