US 3892081 A
An inflatable portable sign for serving as a roadway marker, hazard indicator, real estate sign, and the like consisting of a supporting post having one end sharpened for insertion into the ground and supporting an air valve on the opposite end, a balloon having a desired sign imprinted thereon detachably affixed to the opposite end of the air valve, and an air source attached to an air intake portion of the valve for inflating the balloon sign to the desired diameter at which time the valve is closed to retain the balloon inflated. In addition, the support rod is provided with a projection adapted to be engaged by a lifting handle of a jack supported on the ground to effect the removal of the post from the ground upon completion of use of the sign.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent l 1 1 3,892,081 Goral 1 July 1, 1975 INFLATABLE PORTABLE SIGN  lnventor: Alvin G. Goral, 2362 Deckner Ave. YT ff 'l z 'Mil Green Edy- Wis 43202 Assistant L.\um1mr-Jo n F. Pitrel l  Filed: July 1. 1974 211 App], No.: 484,543 ABSTRACT I An inflatable portable sign for serving as a roadway  U C 5 40/145 marker. hazard indicator. real estate sign and the like 6/ 116/63 P consisting of a supporting post having one end sharp- [5 l] Int. Cl. G09f 21/06 ened for insertion into the ground and supporting an Field of Search 40/212. 214 217. 126 R. air valve on the opposite end a balloon having a de /126 145 145 A. 125 N, 125 R. 125 sired sign imprinted thereon detachably affixed to the 6/83. 9 3 63 P. 124 opposite end of the air valve. and an air source at- B tached to an air intake portion of the valve for inflating the balloon sign to the desired diameter at which  ReferellCeS C d time the valve is closed to retain the balloon inflated.
UNITED STATES PATENTS In addition the support rod is provided with a projec- L776 182 9 1930 Cook 40 214 X adapted to be engaged by lifting handle of 2362331 131958 walker 46/90 jack supported on the ground to effect the removal of 2.925.078 2/1960 Ryan v 46/88 X the post from the ground upon completion of use of 3.250241 5/1966 Levy et al. t. 40/145 R X the sign.
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATlONS v 7 Claims. 5 Drawing Figures 2,050,203 4/ l 972 Germany WWWUU 1975 :a, 892,081
INFLATABLE PORTABLE SIGN BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to signs and markers and more particularly to a novel inflatable portable sign which is readily movable between locations to serve a temporary warning or sign on a roadway, real estate lot, and the like, for informational purposes of passing vehicles and motorists.
2. Description of the Prior Art It has been known in the prior art to provide signs of a rigid construction which, due to the large imprinting thereon to make such signs readable to passing motorists, are of themselves of a large physical configuration making them difficult to transport and set up in the desired area. Further, it is necessary that a specific sign be carried for each specific purpose, such as DE- TOUR," STOP," ROAD CLOSED." and the like such that it normally requires a working crew and special truck to carry the signs required. This is a costly and time consuming procedure, especially when considering the increased labor costs associated with such a crew and the time required to bring the signs to the desired site, set the signs up, and then later come back and retrieve the signs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a novel compact and readily portable inflatable sign utilizing balloons having different sign massages imprinted thereon such that it is only required to attach a balloon with the desired message to the support post and then inflate the balloon to transmit the desired message to passing pedestrians and vehicle drivers, the balloon being readily deflatable after completion of use with the balloon and support post returned to the trunk of a car where a supply of different message balloons may be readily kept in a minimum of space for interchangeable use.
It is a feature of the present invention to provide an inflatable portable sign for use as roadway markers, real estate signs, and the like.
A further feature of the present invention provides a portable inflatable sign of the type which may be secured in position in a roadway or adjacent to a roadway during any time when an impending dangerous condition exists, such as when the roadway is being worked upon, and which may be readily deflated and removed from the roadway when the dangerous condition or work has been removed or completed.
Among further features and advantages of the present invention is the provision of a portable inflatable sign which is relatively simple in its construction and which therefore may be readily manufactured at a relatively low cost and by simple manufacturing methods to permit the sign to be retailed at a sufficiently low price to encourage widespread use thereof; one which is possessed of few parts and which therefore is unlikely to get out oforder; one which is easy to use and reliable and efficient in operation; and one which is otherwise well adapted to perform the services required of it.
Other features and advantages of this invention will be apparent during the course of the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification, and in which like reference characters are employed to designate like parts throughout the same:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the sign of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary exploded elevational view of a portion of the invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary crosssectional view of the mechanism of the invention;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along Line 44 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevational view of the support post of the invention associated with a jacking mechanism for removing the support post from the ground surface in which it has been temporarily embedded.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings in detail there is illustrated a preferred form of a portable inflatable sign constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention and designated generally in its entirety by the reference numeral 10 and which is comprised of four component parts, namely a support post 11, a valve mechanism 12, a multiplicity of interchangeable balloons 13, and a jack 14.
The support rod 11 is of an elongated cylindrical configuration about 4 feet long having a pointed terminal end 21 adapted for ease in penetration of a roadway or ground surface 22 for support of the sign l0 thereon, the opposite end of the support post having screw threads 23 disposed thereon for the detachable connection of the valve mechanism 12 thereto as will be later described. Welded onto the lower bottom end portion of the post and projecting radially outwardly therefrom is a lifting arm 25 which is intended for use with jack 13 as will be later described.
The valve mechanism 12 is of a general elongated cylindrical configuration having cylindrical side walls 31, a bottom end 32, and a top end 33. The bottom end 32 is of a hollow open bottomed configuration having screw threads 34 disposed circumferally about the interior of the side walls and intended for threaded engagement with support rod screw threads 23 for detachably supporting the valve mechanism 12 thereon. The top end 33 of the valve mechanism 12 is provided with a concentric axially extending chamber 35 which extends into the valve mechanism to a point inwardly of the bottom end thereof with the chamber opening out of the top end 33 of the valve mechanism. A hollow tubular shaft 41 extends diametrically through side walls 31 and through the chamber 35 with the tubular shaft connected at one end to an air intake valve mechanism 42 and connected at the opposite end to an air release valve 43, the tube having a central passageway 44 extending therethrough and in communication with a diametrically extending opening 45 in the tube communicating the passageway 44 with the interior of chamber 35. The intake valve 42 is of an elongated cylindrical configuration having cylindrical side walls 51 defining an interior compartment 52 opening out of front end 53 and with screw threads 54 disposed about the interior of the chamber at the front end thereof for threaded engagement therein of a conventional coupling 55 associated with an air hose 56 leading to a conventional source of compressed air, such as supplied by air tank 57. Disposed in chamber 52 extending diametrically thereacross and spaced intermediate thereof between the open front end 53 and back end 58 is a rigid washer shaped member 61 provided with an aperture 62 extending axially therethrough. A disc shaped valve member 63 having a diameter greater than aperture 62 is disposed in axial alignment with aperture 62 concentric therewith and spaced inwardly therefrom with the valve member being secured in position by a plurality of flexible cords64 extending from the valve member to portions of the side walls of the chamber 52. The operation of the valve and valve member will be later described.
The air discharge valve 43 consists of a handle 65 which extends diametrically through tube 41 in communication with the terminal end of passageway 44. The terminal end 66 of the handle is provided with an axially extending bore 67 which extends thereinto and is in communication with a pair of diametrically opposed apertures 68 which extend through the side walls of the handle 65. A bore 69 in axial alignment with the terminal end of passageway 44 interconnects the passageway to'the exterior of the side walls of the handle 65. The handle 65 is rotatable about its axis to bring either opening 68 into and out of axial alignment with bore 69, the opening when in axial alignment placing chamber 67 in communication with passageway 44 and, the opening when not in communication with bore 69, sealing the terminal end of passageway 44 and preventing air from discharging therefrom.
A clamp type band 71 of a cylindrical collar configuration is provided adapted to be placed over the exterior to cylindrical surface 72 adjacent valve mechanism top end 33 and to clampingly receive therebetween the mouth portion 73 of a selected balloon 13, the mouth portion being secured to the valve mechanism in an air tight manner by the band 71 which is tightened by means of screw adjustment 74 which is threadedly engaged with the band and serves to increase and decrease the interior diameter of the band to lock the balloon mouth to the top end of the valve mechanism in an air tight manner in communication with chamber 35.
The balloons 13 are interchangeable on the valve mechanism 12 and are intended to be supplied in a plurality of colors and different messages, such as the message DETOUR generally designated by reference numeral 76, the message STOP generally designated by reference numeral 77, and any other message which may be desired. The balloons 13 are of the type to be inflated between two and three feet in diameter for -maximum visibility.
The jack 14 includes a horizontal flat base 81 adapted to be rested on ground surface 22 and having a stem of L-shaped cross-sectional configuration 82 projecting vertically upright therefrom. The stem is provided with a plurality of longitudinally spaced apart and aligned openings 83 each adapted to receive therein a pivot pin 84 of lifting handle 85 for pivotable movement of the lifting handle thereabout in a vertical plane. The lifting handle 85 includes a gripping portion 86 at one end thereof, and a rod 86' at the opposite end thereof projecting at ninety degrees to the axis of the lifting handle and parallel to the ground and is adapted to engage the lifting arm as will be later described.
In operation, an individual places the support post 11 into ground 22 or roadway or the like in the desired position, the lifting arm 25 providing a foot engaging position for assistance in planting the support post firmly into position. The valve mechanism 12 is then threadedly attached to the top of the support post. A balloon having the desired message imprinted thereon is then selected from the great plurality of balloons, with the mouth portion of the balloon then placed about the top end portion of the valve mechanism and secured thereto by the clamping band 71. The air hose 56 and coupling 55 from air supply 57 are then attached to the air intake valve 42, the individual making sure that the air discharge valve 65 is in the closed position to seal the terminal end of passageway 44. Air is then passed through the intake valve 42, the pressure of the incoming air separating valve member 63 from aperture 62 in a manner permitting the air to pass thereabout and flow in the direction of arrow 90 through passageway 44 and into chamber 35, as indicated by arrows 91, from whence it serves to inflate the balloon 13. When the balloon has been inflated to the desired diameter, the air source 57 is disconnected with the back pressure of air from the balloon passing through chamber 35 and passageway 44 to act on the back and side surfaces of valve member 63 in a manner to seal the valve member against aperture 62 and prevent'loss of air from the intake valve.
After use of the sign and when desired to return the same to its storage position, the individual rotates the handle 65 to exhaust discharge valve 43 to align one of the bores 68 with bore 69, this permitting the air from balloon 13 to pass through chamber 35 and passageway 44 and bore 69 through the bore 68 and out of the bore 67 to thus discharge the air from the balloon. The deflated balloon is then removed from the valve mechanism by loosening the clamping band 71, with the balloon returned to its storage position for future usage. The valve mechanism is then removed from the support post 11, or if desired, may be left attached thereto for future usage. The jack 14 is then placed adjacent the base of the support post 11 with the lifting rod 86 of lifting handle engaging the underneath surface of lifting arm 25, after which downward pressure on lifting handle 86 effects the vertical lifting of the support post from its embedded position in the ground or roadway. The post and jack are then conveniently stored in their appropriate storage locations, such as in the trunk of an automobile, until required for future usage.
It is to be understood that the form of this invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that this invention is not to be limited to the exact arrangement of parts shown in the accompanying drawings or described in this specification as various changes in the details of construction as to shape, size, and arrangement of parts may be resorted without departing from the spirit of the invention, the scope of the novel concepts thereof, or the scope of the sub-joined claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed 1. An inflatable portable sign comprising:
an elongated tubular rigid support post having a bottom end and a top end, the bottom end adapted to be embedded into the ground, roadway or the like to support the post therein, and the top end provided with screw threads extending circumferentially the exterior portion thereof;
a valve mechanism having a cylindrical housing with a top end and a bottom end. the bottom end being of a cylindrical closed top configuration having threads extending circumferentially about its interior surfaces adapted to be threadedly engaged on the threaded top end of the support post;
an air intake valve connected to the valve mechanism housing;
an air discharge valve connected to the valve mechanism housing;
a cylindrical collar shaped clamping band having an interior diameter greater than the exterior diameter of the top end of the valve mechanism housing and adapted to be placed thereover and concentric therewith;
a balloon having a mouth portion to be engaged over the top end of the valve mechanism housing be neath the clamping band;
means for adjusting the clamping band to detachably secure the mouth of the balloon to the valve mech anism housing;
a source of air for connection to the air intake valve for inflating the balloon; and
message conveying indicia imprinted on the balloon and clearly visible upon inflation of the balloon.
' 2. The inflatable portable sign as set forth in claim 1 wherein the valve mechanism comprises:
a cylindrical chamber disposed concentric with the valve mechanism housing and extending axially therethrough from a point inwardly of the bottom end thereof to a point opening out of the top end thereof;
a hollow open ended tube extending diametrically through the valve mechanism housing and through the chamber disposed therein, the tube having an intake end and a terminal end;
a passageway extending axially through the tube between the intake end and the terminal end thereof;
a bore extending diametrically through the tube portion within the valve mechanism housing chamber placing the tube passageway in communication with the housing chamber;
the intake valve afflxed to the intake end of the tube in communication with the tube passageway for discharging air thereinto from the air source; and
the exhaust discharge valve mounted in the tube at the terminal end thereof and in selective communication with the tube passageway for sealing the terminal end of the passageway in a first position and for providing discharge or air from the passageway to the atmosphere in a second position.
3. The inflatable portable sign set forth in claim 2 wherein the intake valve comprises:
a cylindrical housing having cylindrical side walls an open front end, and a closed back end, the back end provided with an aperture extending therethrough in communication with the intake end of the tubular passageway;
a chamber defined interiorly of the housing and opening out of the front end thereof;
screw threads extending circumferentially about the side walls of the chamber adjacent the front end thereof and adapted to receive a threaded coupling for connecting the air source thereto;
a disc shaped washer member disposed normal to the axis of the chamber and positioned intermediate the front and back ends of the chamber;
an aperture: extending axially through the washer member to place the front and back end portions of the chamber in communication with each other;
. a sealing valve member disposed in the back end portion of the chamber and movable between a position'sealin'g the'washer aperture and a position spaced from the washer aperture, the sealing member being of a flatconflguration having a cross sectional' size less than the diameter of the chamber and greater than the washer aperture; and
a plurality of flexible cord members each having one end affixed to a portion of the sealing member with their opposite ends affixed to a portion of' the chamber side walls, the cord members guiding the sealing member in its path away from the washer aperture upon air being directedthrough the aperture into the valve mechanism housing, and the cords directing the path of movement of the sealing member upon the ceasing of air coming through the aperture with the sealing member being forced into sealing engagement with the aperture due to back pressure of air flowing back through the tubular passageway from the valve mechanism.
4. The inflatable portable sign as set forth in claim 3 wherein the exhaust discharge valve comprises:
an opening extending diametrically through the terminal end portion of the tube in communication with the terminal end of the tubular passageway;
a cylindrical rod shaped handle inserted snugly through the opening and rotatable therein about its axis;
a bore extending axially through the bottom end of the handle;
a pair of diametrically opposed axially aligned open ings provided in the handle extending diametrically through the handle and bore with the axis thereof lying co-planar with a horizontal plane taken through the axis of the tubular passageway;
such that rotation of the handle to a first position will place one of the openings in communication with the terminal end of the tubular passageway for discharge of air through the tubular passageway and connected opening through the handle bore to the atmosphere, and rotation of the handle to a position where neither of the openings are in communication with the terminal end of tubular passageway will effect the sealing of the terminal end of the m bular passageway to prevent air from escaping therefrom.
5. The inflatable portable sign as set forth in claim 4 further characterized by the clamping band being of a cylindrical collar configuration having an interior diameter greater than the exterior diameter of the top end portion of the valve mechanism housing. the interior diameter of the band being adjustable by a threaded adjustment screw to a greater and lesser diameter to effect the air tight clamping of the mouth portion of a balloon to the top end portion of the valve mechanism housing in communication with the valve mechanism chamber.
6. The inflatable portable sign as set forth in claim 5 further characterized by a lifting arm having one end permanently affixed to a portion of the support post with the opposite end projecting radially outwardly from the support post; the rod having a flat top surface adapted to be engaged by an individuals foot when embedding the bottom end of the support post into the ground; the bottom edge of the lifting arm defining a shoulder portion for use by an individual in gripping the lifting arm to loosen and lift the support post free of the ground upon completion of use thereof.
7. The inflatable portable sign as set forth in claim 6 further characterized by a jack provided in combination with the support post for assisting an individual in removing the support post from the ground and roadway in which it is embedded. the jack comprising:
a flat horizontal base member adapted to rest on the ground and roadway surface;
an upright stem member having a general L-shaped cross-sectional configuration;
a plurality of longitudinally spaced apart and aligned openings extending through the stem portion;
an elongated rod shaped lifting handle having a grippivot pin having one end affixed to the lifting han dle intermediate the end portions thereof and projecting outwardly therefrom normal to the axis thereof and adapted to be engaged in one of the stem openings to provide pivot axis for the pivotal movement of the lifting rod thereabout upon downward pressure of an individual on the handle por-