Patented Installation System

We have been awarded U.S. Patent No. 5,456,203 for our innovative granite sign design and engineering. Our H-Pin Anchor System simplifies the proper installation of granite signs. This patented process was engineered to prevent the discoloration which results from burying stone in the ground. This also facilitates pouring an adequate foundation where "frost-heave" is a consideration.

Granite Signs with Golf Ball Washer

Background of the Invention

Stone markers are extremely popular for use as golf course signs and country club signage. These markers are made from many different types of stone, including, but not limited to, marble, limestone, slate and granite. These golf course sign markers are more desirable than markers made of substances such as wood or plastic because the latter substances are less durable and are often not as aesthetically pleasing. Of the many different types of stone used, granite is the most desirable material because of its extreme hardness.

A typical golf course sign granite marker is one to five feet in height, eight to fifteen inches in width, and two to twenty-four inches in depth. Granite’s composition and characteristics give these markers longevity of life and imperviousness to normal wear, even after long periods of exposure to harsh weather conditions. These golf course sign markers can be sandblasted, chiseled or otherwise carved to show the pictorial layout of a particular golf hole with corresponding yardage and other additional information. Other accessory equipment such as golf ball washers, trash cans, cleaning devices for golf spikes, and towel holders are also frequently attached to the markers.

One problem associated with a typical golf course sign granite marker is the difficulty in mounting the marker so that it does not move or fall when force is applied to the marker. Wind hitting the face of a golf course sign granite marker, if strong enough, can often cause the marker to tip, fall and fragment. Wild game often is attracted to such a stone marker for various reasons. For example, elk and moose in the western and northwestern United States have a tendency to use such a stone marker as a post for rubbing their antlers during rutting season. Further, golfers not utilizing due care often hit such a marker with motorized golf carts. Once such a golf course sign granite marker falls or is displaced, there is usually both great difficulty associated in lifting or repositioning such a piece of stone, typically weighing several hundred pounds, and great cost in repairing or replacing it. To prevent a golf course sign marker from being displaced during such an application of force, a golf course sign marker often is embedded partially in the ground. A hole of appropriate depth is dug, a bottom portion of the marker is placed in the hole, and the hole is then filled again with dirt. Alternatively, a footer is dug, the marker is placed in the footer, and the footer is filled with concrete to permanently affix the marker in that particular location. The buried part of the marker or the portion of the of the marker’s base lying in the cured concrete effectively serves as the anchor of the marker. However, problems are associated with these methods of securing the golf course sign granite marker. Gradual settling of the ground often causes a marker secured in this manner to lean in an unsightly manner or to fall over completely. Also, granite is very porous. If the marker is buried directly in the ground, moisture from the ground gradually seeps into the granite and, after prolonged exposure to freezing and thawing temperatures, the granite may crack, weaken, and become damaged. Further, after the absorbed water evaporates or otherwise seeps from the granite, minerals from the soil often are left in the granite, causing unsightly discoloration of the stone. In order to avoid these problems, a foundation is often used to insulate the marker from the ground and thus to prevent much of the moisture damage caused to the marker. In addition to insulating the granite from the adverse effects of ground water, the foundation also provides a support surface more resistant to settling. Alternatives involving a golf course sign marker mounted on a foundation use fastening mechanisms that include rods. These rods are partially embedded in the foundation and extend vertically to fit into holes that are drilled or otherwise formed on the underside of the granite marker.

The rods aid in supporting the marker during occasions in which a tipping force is applied to the marker, such as during incidents of vandalism, that would normally cause the marker to tip over, to move or to otherwise be damaged. Two options exist for aligning the rods with the holes. Under a first approach, a pair of rods is first embedded in the foundation. The distance between the two embedded rods is then measured, and the holes in the base of the marker are then formed, with the distance between the holes corresponding to the measured distance between the rods in the particular foundation. In a second method, the holes in the base of the foundation are pre-cut at the manufacturing plant when the marker is fabricated. When the rods are subsequently embedded in the foundation, the worker laying the foundation must ensure that the distance between the rods corresponds to the distance between the holes in the base of the foundation. Drawbacks exist, however, to these support mechanisms. A mounting arrangement that provides a single rod embedded in a concrete foundation provides only limited support against a tipping force. In mounting arrangements which employ multiple rods, it is difficult to install the support mechanism such that the rods accurately align with the holes in the base of the marker. If the holes are pre-drilled in the base of the marker at the manufacturing facility, then any variation in the spacing of the rods when the worker embeds the rods in the foundation will cause misalignment. The fact that often the foundation is poured and the rods are placed by relatively unskilled labor further complicates any hopes of the rods being positioned in the desired spaced-apart relation. On the other hand, if the rods are first embedded in the foundation and the holes are then drilled in the base of the marker to match the spacing of the rods, the drilling process can be both labor and cost intensive when performed in the field because of the special diamond-tipped drill bit required by the hardness of the granite. Thus, there is a need for a mounting relationship permitting holes to be pre-drilled at the time of fabrication with the assurance that the rods embedded in the foundation will correspondingly align with the pre-drilled holes.

In addition to the problems associated with the initial erection of the golf course sign stone markers, the mounting relationship may become compromised over a period of time. The rods may loosen from the foundation for one of many reasons, including thermal cycling, cracking of the concrete along the stress lines associated with the rods, and elements exerting force on the marker and causing stress to, and cracking of, the foundation. The rods may loosen, wobble and become so unsecured that they could be completely removed from the foundation. Thus, there is a need to provide a mounting arrangement for golf course sign stone markers which will securely anchor rods in the foundation and which will help disperse stress applied to the foundation so as to resist loosening over time. These golf course sign granite markers, as mentioned previously, may also hold accessory equipment used by golfers on the golf course. This equipment is often mounted to an edge of the marker. Holes are drilled into the edge of the marker, and horizontally-projecting mounting members associated with the accessory equipment are inserted into the holes. The mounting members are then secured in place in the holes with an adhesive such as an epoxy or caulk. This mounting arrangement, however, has its drawbacks. If any of the attached equipment becomes damaged or worn out, it is a difficult and time-consuming process to detach the equipment because of the adhesive. Furthermore, lateral forces will be exerted on mounting members, resulting from various sources such as the weight of the accessory equipment, the wind load against the accessory equipment, a golfer leaning against the equipment, or the vigorous jostling of the equipment resulting from agitating a ball in the ball washer. In response to these lateral forces, a mounting member will transmit force to the walls of a bore in the marker primarily in two locations, the rim and the base of the bore. This point contact between the mounting member and the stone can cause the stone to chip, crack, abrade or otherwise be damaged. Thus, there is a need to provide an arrangement for mounting accessory equipment to a golf course sign stone marker which does not require an adhesive or caulk to secure the accessory equipment to the stone marker. There is a further need to provide an arrangement for mounting accessory equipment to a golf course sign stone marker which protects the marker against wear, abrasion, or other damage resulting from loads applied to the accessories.

Summary of the Invention

As will be seen, the present invention overcomes these and other problems associated with the prior art. Stated generally, the stone golf course sign marker of the present invention provides a mounting arrangement which permits holes to be pre-drilled at the time of fabrication with the assurance that the rods embedded in the foundation will correspondingly align with the pre-drilled holes. The stone golf course sign marker also provides a mounting arrangement for stone markers which will securely anchor rods in the foundation and which will help disperse stress applied to the foundation so as to resist loosening over time. Further, the stone golf course marker of the present invention provides an arrangement for mounting accessory equipment to a stone marker which does not require an adhesive or caulk to secure the accessory equipment to the stone marker. The stone golf course marker also provides an arrangement for mounting accessory equipment to a stone marker which protects the marker against wear, abrasion, or other damage resulting from loads applied to the accessories. Stated more specifically, in a first aspect, the present invention comprises a workpiece, a foundation, and a connector. Two bores are formed in the base of the workpiece in predetermined spaced-apart relation with each other. The connector includes a pair of upstanding interconnected rods that are disposed in spaced-apart relation corresponding to the spaced-apart relation of the pair of bores in the workpiece. The pair of upstanding interconnected rods is partially embedded in the foundation. When the workpiece is placed on the foundation, the upstanding rods of the connector engage the bores in the base of the workpiece to maintain the workpiece in a an upright position. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the upstanding rods of the connector are joined by a cross member such that the connector is essentially H-shaped. Also in the preferred embodiment, the cross-member is essentially flat so as to provide an increased surface area in a plane perpendicular to the minor axis of the base that is greater than the width of the rods when the connector is embedded in the foundation. This greater width of the cross-member enhances lateral stability of the connector and thus the lateral stability of the workpiece. In a second aspect, the present invention comprises a mounting arrangement for mounting a mounting bracket to a workpiece. A sleeve is disposed and retained within a bore in a side wall of the workpiece by both an interference fit with the bore walls and an epoxy. A mounting member of the mounting bracket engages the sleeve to mount the mounting bracket to the workpiece. If desired, a second bore and sleeve may be provided in predetermined spaced-apart relation to the first bore and a second mounting member of the mounting bracket will engage this second sleeve to enhance the engagement between the mounting bracket and the workpiece. In the disclosed embodiment, a set screw retains each mounting member of the mounting bracket in engagement with the corresponding sleeve. If the particular marker has a finished edge, a washer then fits over the outer end portion of each sleeve and abuts the side wall of the workpiece to conceal the bore and to provide an aesthetically-pleasing finished appearance. Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification, when taken in conjunction with the drawings and the appended claims.