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Publication numberUS3916816 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1975
Filing dateSep 20, 1973
Priority dateJul 12, 1972
Publication numberUS 3916816 A, US 3916816A, US-A-3916816, US3916816 A, US3916816A
InventorsFitch John C
Original AssigneeFibco Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Highway marker
US 3916816 A
Abstract
A temporary highway marker and lane delineator which may be variably loaded to provide a variable vehicle deceleration capability.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Fitch 14 1 Nov. 4, 1975 HIGHWAY MARKER 2,333,273 4/1943 Scanlon 116/63 P 2,762,327 9/1956 Weig 116/63 P [75] Invenmr' John Fans 2,817,308 12/1957 Scanlon 116 63 P [73] A i FIBCO, Incorporated, Hartford, 3,247,823 4/1966 Buck et al. 116/63 P Conn. FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [22] Ffled Sept 1973 551,096 l0/1956 Belgium 116/63 P 21 Appl, M 399,043 1,139,373 6/1957 France 116/63 P Related US. Application Data Continuation of Ser. No. 271,170, July 12, 1972, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 120,655, March 3, 1971, abandoned.

US. Cl. 116/63 P; 40/125 H; 220/10 Int. Cl E011 9/10 Field of Search 116/28, 63, 63 P;

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Burkhard 220/13 X Primary Examiner-Louis J. Capozi Attorney, Agent, or FirmStrauch, Nolan, Neale, Nies & Kurz [57] ABSTRACT A temporary highway marker and lane delineator which may be variably loaded to provide a variable vehicle deceleration capability.

14 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 3,916,816

HIGHWAY MARKER This application is a continuation of application U.S.

Ser. No. 271,170, filed July 2, 1972 which in turn is a 5 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is frequently necessary to provide temporary highway markers to delineate temporary traffic lanes for special traffic control or to guide vehicles around construction sites or temporary hazards.

In the past, two principal types of markers have been employed for-these purposes. Perhaps the most common type of marker is the familiar 55 gallon steel oil drum. The disadvantages of such drums have long been recognized. For example, it is well known that the use of such drums creates in itself a potentially lethal highway hazard. The drums, when struck by a vehicle, may be thrown hundreds of feet and may fly into the path of another vehicle and create a high risk of serious injury to workmen in the area. Because of the adverse accident history experienced with oil drums, they have been outlawed in several states, and in other regions their use is tacitly forbidden.

The second type of temporary highway marker now in widespread use is a simple cone usually constructed of plastic. While this device eliminates many of the hazards associated with oil drums, nevertheless, the plastic cones, because of their small size and light weight, function only as markers and have essentially zero capacity for redirecting an errant vehicle or decelerating an errant vehicle.

Being of small size and obviously light in weight, the small plastic cones are frequently overrun deliberately by motorists because they know they can do so without risk of damage to their vehicles or injury to themselves.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the principal purpose and object of the present invention to provide improved highway markers which overcome the above stated disadvantages of prior devices and which are non-hazardous to vehicles and to personnel and yet which possess a substantial and controllable vehicle deceleration or deflection capability.

It is also a principal object of the present invention to present to the eye of the motorist a hazard marker and- /or a traffic lane delineator of sufficient size to command attention and of sufficient apparent mass to discourage contact or the risk of contact, while not actually presenting an object near the travelled way which could cause significant damage to vehicles or persons who inadvertently strike them or are in the vulnerable proximity when they are struck. To summarize the objective, it is to present a highly visible device which will command attention through its size and color, command respect through its formidable appearance of mass, yet will not correspondingly penalize an offending motorist with damage to his vehicle or risk of injury to his person.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide improved highway markers which are of uncomplicated construction and which may be stored, trans ported and installed with minimum difficulty.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide improved highway markers which are durable, impervi- 2 ous to weather and capable of withstanding rough usage and handling.

In attaining these and other objects the present invention provides a safety marker which comprises a main body portion essentially in the form of a truncated cone preferably molded of high density plastic.

The upper portion of the marker body incorporates a container adapted to be selectively loaded with a high density mass such as sand. The markers are nestable and are of lightweight construction when unloaded so that they may be stored, transported and set up or moved from a site quickly and easily. When they are loaded with sand or a similar material, the markers are stable, resist accidental displacement and possess a substantial vehicle deceleration capability, a characteristic notably absent from any prior temporary marker construction.

Additional objects and advantages will become apparent as the description proceeds. THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a preferred embodiment of the marker partially broken away to show details of construction;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the marker shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of a group of markers stacked for storage.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the drawings, the highway safety marker of the present invention, indicated generally at 10, is preferably of one piece construction and is preferably molded from a high-density plastic such as polyethelene, which is weather resistant and possesses sufficient strength to resist light impacts and withstand repeated handling and rough usage.

The main body 12 of the device is of generally frustoconical form, and, in a typical case, has a base diameter of 25 inches, a top diameter of 19 inches and an overall height of approximately 30 inches. A unit of this size is regarded by the motorist as a formidable physical object which commands his attention and respect. To increase their visibility, the markers are preferably finished in bright colors and may be equiped with stripes or reflecting paint as is common in the art.

At its lower or base end the marker is provided with a reinforcing rim 14 to guard against breakage and to assure retention of the original shape. Formed integrally with the upper edge of the main body portion 12 is a container portion 126 which is preferably also of truncated conical form. The container portion 16 has a frusto-conical wall 18 and a flat bottom wall 20. In a typical case the diameter of the bottom wall 20 is about 13 inches and is disposed of at a height of approximately 1 1 inches above the base of the marker unit.

The main body portion of the marker, as well as the inner container portion are of sufficient strength to permit the container portion to be fully loaded with a high density material, such as sand. The capacity of the container portion is such that it will accommodate, when fully loaded, between 200 and 300 pounds of sand. This weight is sufficient to measurably decelerate an errant vehicle. When the device is either fully or partially loaded, its center of gravity is artificially elevated to substantially the height of the center of gravity of passenger vehicles so that the possibility of tripping, lifting or overturning an impacting automobile is virtually eliminated. Similarly, the location of the center of gravity and the materials used in the unit virtually eliminate 3 the possiblity that an integral mass of hazardous magnitude will be projected through the air, which is a common occurrence in connection with the steel drums ordinarily used as highway markers.

If the marker is to be used only as a delineator, one or two small bags of sand 24 placed in the container portion will hold it in place. The container portion can be additionally loaded as required to impart the desired deflection or deceleration capability to the marker. Since the container portion accommodates bags of sand, the nuisance of shoveling, containing, transporting and storing loose sand is eliminated.

To facilitate stacking or nesting of the units as shown in FlG. 3, they are provided with a shoulder 22 which limits movement of one unit into the other to prevent the units from being wedged together.

Series of the nested units may be transported by truck to the site where they are to be used, the truck also being partially loaded with bags of sand of appropriate size, for example, 50 pounds. The units may be positioned as required and loaded with sand as necessary to assure that the units will be held in position or to provide the required deceleration capability required at the particular site. Since the walls of the unit are transluscent, they may be provided with interior lighting, as may be required for night use.

The invention may be adapted by brackets to carry exterior flashing lights, standard road signs or boards of, for instance, 8 foot by 1 foot width, to create a continuous barricade with the board ends attached from marker to marker.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

l. A temporary highway safety marker comprising a generally upright frusto-conical main body portion having a lower edge adapted to rest, without attachment, on a supporting surface and an inverted frusto-conical container portion formed integrally with said body portion, said container portion being wholly within said main body portion and having a transverse bottom wall positioned substantially above the lower edge of said main body portion and substantially below the upper edge of said main body portion said container portion being adapted to contain a dispersible mass such as sand, and the walls of said body,portion and said container portion diverging in a direction toward said lower edge of said body portion whereby said body portions may be nested in compact relation.

2. The safety marker according to claim 1 wherein said body portion and said container portion are integrally joined at their upper edges.

3. The safety marker according to claim 1, wherein the position of the dispersible mass in the container portion at the approximate center of gravity of the average passenger vehicle insures that errant vehicles striking the safety marker will not be subject to hazardous vertical moments, either through the dynamic momentum exchange between the vehicle and the mass in the sand container portion, or because of the location 4 of an incompressable mass under the wheels of the vehicle.

4. The safety marker according to claim I wherein the main body portion and the container portion are flexible, the flexibility of body portion and container portion and the dispersible mass in the container portion insuring that no integral mass will be projected through the air as a result of vehicle impact to significantly jeopardize other road users, either in vehicles or on foot.

5. The safety marker as defined in claim I, wherein said main body portion is provided with at least one stepped shoulder intermediate the top and bottom of said marker, the portion of said main body above said stepped shoulder being of less diameter than the portion of said main body below said stepped shoulder.

6. A temporary highway safety marker comprising: a generally upright main body portion with upwardly convergent profile and having a lower edge adapted to rest, without attachment, on a supporting surface and an inverted container portion formed integrally with said body portion, the container portion in vertical section having a downwardly convergent profile, said container portion being wholly within said main body portion and having a transverse bottom wall positioned substantially above the lower edge of said main body portion and substantially below the upper edge of said main body portion, said container portion being adapted to contain a dispersible mass such as sand, and the walls of said body portion and said container portion in vertical section providing a divergent profile in a direction toward said lower edge of said body portion whereby said markers may be nested in compact relation.

7. The safety marker according to claim 6, wherein said body portion and said container portion are integrally joined at their upper edges.

8. The safety marker according to claim 6, wherein the position of the dispersible mass in the container portion at the approximate center of gravity of the average passenger vehicle insures that errant vehicles striking the safety marker will not be subject to hazardous vertical moments, either through the dynamic momentum exchange between the vehicle and the mass in the sand container portion, or because of the location of an incompressable mass under the wheels of the vehicle.

9. The safety marker according to claim 8, wherein the main body portion and the container portion are flexible, the flexibility of body portion and container portion and the dispersible mass in the container portion insuring that no integral mass will be projected through the air as a result of vehicle impact to significantly jeopardize other road users, either in vehicles or on foot.

10. The safety marker as defined in claim 6, wherein said main body portion is provided with at least one stepped shoulder intermediate the top and bottom of said marker, the portion of said main body above said stepped shoulder being of less diameter than the portion of said main body below said stepped shoulder.

H. A highway safety device comprising a self-supporting upright hollow outer portion of circular cross section and having an upwardly convergent profile to facilitate nesting and an annular ground engaging edge around its lower end adapted to rest, without attachment on a supporting surface, and an upwardly open inner container portion disposed within the outer portion having at its upper end a supporting connection with the upper end of said outer portion with the lower portion of the container spaced inwardly with respect to said outer portion, said container portion being of such shape as to position a high density dispcrsible mass therein at a predetermined distance above said surface for artificially elevating, the center of gravity of the entire device to a height corresponding substantially to the height of the center of gravity of the usual passenger vehicle, and said container portions being composed of synthetic plastic material whereby upon impact as by a moving vehicle said device is freely displaceable and said dispcrsible mass will effectively decelerate said vehicle without tripping or lifting said vehicle.

12. The safety device according to claim ll, wherein said outer portion and said inner container portion are peripherally connected at their upper edge regions.

13. The safety device as defined in claim ll, wherein said outer portion is provided with at least one stepped shoulder intermediate the top and bottom of said device. the portion of said outer body above said stepped 6 shoulder being of less diameter than the portion of said outer body below said stepped shoulder 14. A highway safety device comprising a self-supporting hollow outer frusto-conical portion of circular cross section and an annular ground engaging edge around its lower end adapted to rest without attachment on a supporting surface, and an upwardly open inner container portion disposed within the outer portion having at its upper end a supporting connection with the upper end of said outer portion with the lower portion of the container spaced inward with respect to said outer portion, said container portion being of such shape as to position a high density dispersible mass therein at a predetermined distance above said surface for artifically elevating the center of gravity of the entire device to a height corresponding substantially to the height of the center of gravity of the usual passenger vehicle. and said container portions being composed of synthetic plastic material whereby upon impact as by a moving vehicle said device is freely displaceable and said dispcrsible mass will effectively decelerate said vehicle without tripping or lifting said vc hicle.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification116/63.00P, 206/519, 40/612, 206/515
International ClassificationE01F9/011, E01F9/012
Cooperative ClassificationE01F9/0122
European ClassificationE01F9/012A