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Publication numberUS20060180491 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/352,584
Publication dateAug 17, 2006
Filing dateFeb 13, 2006
Priority dateFeb 14, 2005
Publication number11352584, 352584, US 2006/0180491 A1, US 2006/180491 A1, US 20060180491 A1, US 20060180491A1, US 2006180491 A1, US 2006180491A1, US-A1-20060180491, US-A1-2006180491, US2006/0180491A1, US2006/180491A1, US20060180491 A1, US20060180491A1, US2006180491 A1, US2006180491A1
InventorsDavid Zephir, Ronald Audet, Rebecca Foster
Original AssigneeZephir David E, Audet Ronald M, Foster Rebecca B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nesting and stacking storage crate
US 20060180491 A1
Abstract
A nesting and stacking storage crate having a bottom, a top rim, a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim, and a pair of shelves formed into the sidewall, the shelves adapted to support the bottom of another identical storage crate.
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Claims(18)
1. A nesting and stacking storage crate, comprising:
a bottom;
a top rim that defines an open top;
a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim; and
a pair of shelves formed into the sidewall, the shelves adapted to support the bottom of another identical storage crate.
2. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 wherein the top rim defines an open top that is larger than the bottom.
3. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 wherein the shelves are closer to the top rim than they are to the bottom.
4. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 wherein the shelves are on opposite sides of the crate.
5. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 4 wherein the shelves each comprise a top surface that is generally planar.
6. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 5 wherein the shelves each further comprise an interior lip projecting above the plane of the top surface.
7. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 5 wherein the shelves each further comprise a series of ribs below the top surface.
8. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 wherein the top rim and the bottom are generally rectangular.
9. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 8 wherein the sidewall comprises four generally planar portions that define four sides of the rectangle.
10. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 9 wherein the shelves are in two opposite sidewall portions.
11. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 10 wherein the shelves extend along most of the length of the two opposite sidewall portions.
12. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 9 further comprising pillars connecting the top rim and bottom at each of the corners of the rectangle.
13. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 12 wherein the sidewall between the pillars comprise a series of openings.
14. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 further comprising a series of standoffs located at spaced locations around and below the rim.
15. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 further comprising carrying handles.
16. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 15 wherein the carrying handles comprise the shelves.
17. The nesting and stacking storage crate of claim 1 wherein the bottom has opposite sides, and the distance between the shelves is about the same as the distance between the opposite sides of the bottom.
18. A nesting and stacking storage crate, comprising:
a generally rectangular bottom;
a generally rectangular top rim that defines an open top, wherein the top rim defines an open top that is larger than the bottom;
a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim, the sidewall comprising four generally planar portions that define four sides of the rectangle; and
a pair of shelves formed into the sidewall on two opposite sidewall portions close to the rim, the shelves spaced from one another about the same distance as opposite sides of the bottom so that they can support the bottom of a second identical storage crate that is rotated ninety degrees relative to the first crate.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Provisional application Ser. No. 60/652,710, filed on Feb. 14, 2005.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a molded plastic storage crate.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Plastic open-top storage crates find great utility. Many times, such crates are used to store toys, crafting supplies, household articles and other irregularly-shaped objects. When crates are filled with objects, the surface is irregular, which makes stacking filled crates one upon another difficult to accomplish. As a result, the number of crates that can be stored in a closet or another area with limited floor space is less than it could be.

Another issue with crates is that retailers desire to display a maximum number of crates in a minimal floor or shelf space. It is thus advantageous to have crates nest one within another.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a storage crate that nests with other crates when empty, and in which the crates can be stacked one upon another. The nesting is accomplished by making the top rim define an open top that is larger than the bottom of the crate. As a result, the sidewall is tapered inwardly from top to bottom. This allows the crates to be nested one within the other to thereby decrease the storage space required for multiple crates, a feature useful both for the retailer and the purchaser. The crates are designed to be stacked one on top of another, even when essentially filled. This is accomplished by a pair of shelves formed into the sidewalls, near the rim. The shelves are sized and spaced so that the bottom of another identical crate can rest on the shelves, with the upper crate spanning the open top between the shelves and rotated ninety degrees relative to the crate on which it rests.

In the preferred embodiment, the crate is essentially rectangular, and the sidewall defines pairs of essentially parallel opposite walls. However, the crate could take other shapes such as oval and still accomplish the invention through the combination of spaced shelves and an appropriately-shaped and sized bottom. The crate is preferably made from injection-molded plastic.

The shelves are preferably closer to the top rim than they are to the bottom. The shelves are preferably on opposite sides of the crate. The shelves each preferably comprise a top surface that is generally planar, and may each further comprise an interior lip projecting above the plane of the top surface. The shelves may each further comprise a series of ribs below the top surface.

The top rim and the bottom may be generally rectangular, in which case the sidewall may comprise four generally planar portions that define four sides of the rectangle, with the shelves in two opposite sidewall portions. The shelves may extend along most of the length of the two opposite sidewall portions. The nesting and stacking storage crate may further comprise pillars connecting the top rim and bottom at each of the corners of the rectangle. The sidewall between the pillars may comprise a series of openings.

The nesting and stacking storage crate may further comprise a series of standoffs located at spaced locations around and below the rim. The nesting and stacking storage crate may further comprise carrying handles. The carrying handles may comprise the undersides of the shelves. The bottom may have opposite sides, and the distance between the shelves may be about the same as the distance between the opposite sides of the bottom.

In a more specific embodiment, the invention features a nesting and stacking storage crate, comprising a generally rectangular bottom, a generally rectangular top rim that defines an open top, wherein the top rim defines an open top that is larger than the bottom, a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim, the sidewall comprising four generally planar portions that define four sides of the rectangle, and a pair of shelves formed into the sidewall on two opposite sidewall portions close to the rim, the shelves spaced from one another about the same distance as opposite sides of the bottom so that they can support the bottom of another identical storage crate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects, features and advantages will occur to those skilled in the art from the following description of the preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the nesting and stacking storage crate of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the crate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the crate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an end view of the crate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line A-A of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged detailed view of a portion of FIG. 5 labeled B showing the shelf and handle detail;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged detailed view of a portion of the bottom of the crate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of two of the crates of FIG. 1 nested together; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the two crates shown in FIG. 8 stacked one on top of another.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Nesting and stacking storage crate 10 may be made from injection-molded plastic material such as copolymer-polypropylene. Crate 10 comprises generally rectangular bottom 42, and generally rectangular top rim 40 that defines an open top that is larger than bottom 42. The sidewall connecting the bottom and top comprises inwardly-tapered sidewall portions 43-46. In this preferred embodiment, sidewall portions 43 and 44 are essentially planar and parallel, as are sidewall portions 45 and 46. However, this is not a limitation of the invention, as will become apparent below.

Sidewall portions 43 and 44 define near their tops shelves 12 and 14, respectively. Shelf 14 is shown in detail in FIG. 6 and defines an essentially flat, planar top surface on which one end of bottom 42 of another identical crate can rest. Preferably, interior lip 14 a, which projects above the plane of the shelf, is included to help seat the bottom of another crate on shelf 14. The bottom can have a small raised peripheral projection 57 that helps to seat the bottom on the shelves of the crate on which it rests, and also in conjunction with lip 14 a inhibit the crate from sliding off of the shelves. Shelf 14 also includes on its bottom side a series of elongated parallel spaced ribs 14 b that provide rigidity to the shelf, and also provide better finger gripping; such ribs are not a limitation of the invention.

The crate is designed such that the distance between the shelves is about the same as the distance between the opposite ends of the bottom of the crate on the sides adjacent to the sides with the shelf. In other words, the distance between the outer most section of shelves 12 and 14 needs to be at least as great as the distance between the bottom of sidewall sections 45 and 46. This allows the crates to be stacked in a cross-wise fashion as shown in FIG. 9. If the crates are square, then the stacking direction is irrelevant. As shown in the drawings, the shelves can extend along most of the lengths of the two opposite sidewall portions.

The crate preferably also defines a pair of handles 15 and 13 that are integrally formed in rim 40, as best shown in FIG. 6. These handles can be the bottom parts of the shelves.

The crates are also adapted to nest together as shown in FIG. 8. This is accomplished by a combination of several features. The critical aspect that accomplishes the nesting is that the sidewall sections are all tapered so that the open top is greater in area than the closed bottom. It is preferable to create a little bit of spacing between the rims of stacked crates so that it is easier for a user to grasp the top crate and lift it from a stack of crates. This can be accomplished by one or more of the handles and/or upper standoffs that can be molded just below the lip. As shown in FIG. 8, handles 13 and 15 rest on top of one another. The rims of adjacent nested crates are thus spaced from one another by the height of the handles. Alternatively or additionally, the nested crates can be separated and supported by a series of molded standoffs such as standoffs 18 and 20 that are just below the lip, preferably at or near the corners of the crate. Lower indentations at the four bottom corners (indentations 30 and 32 shown in FIGS. 3 and 7) can accept caster-type wheels (not shown) so that the crate can be wheeled by the user.

Solid corner pillars such as pillars 22 and 24 are another optional feature of the invention. These provide some strength and rigidity in the case of the preferred embodiment in which the remaining portions of the sidewall has a series of through holes that provide both visibility and ventilation. The solid pillars in this case provide the strength necessary to allow the vertical stacking of two or more crates.

Although specific features of the invention are shown in some drawings and not others, this is for convenience only as some feature may be combined with any or all of the other features in accordance with the invention.

Other embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art and are within the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8448788 *Sep 17, 2010May 28, 2013Conair CorporationNested bowl retention mechanism for food processors
US8607981 *Dec 12, 2012Dec 17, 2013Christopher W WojnoGrocery transport reusable container
US20090289060 *May 19, 2009Nov 26, 2009Brabantia Nederland B.V.Waste bin and inner bin
US20120285953 *May 10, 2012Nov 15, 2012Werner SchickPackaging container
US20130264242 *Dec 12, 2012Oct 10, 2013Christopher W. WojnoGrocery transport reusable container
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/507
International ClassificationB65D21/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/046
European ClassificationB65D21/04D4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: UNITED COMB & NOVELTY CORPORATION, MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ZEPHIR, DAVID E.;AUDET, RONALD M.;FOSTER, REBECCA;REEL/FRAME:017579/0699
Effective date: 20060209