US 2385866 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
SR FWOWCF bearch mom minim r. I
XR 2.385.866 l a: Z A f 1945. e. P. KUEHNER 2,385,866 3 j, CONTAINER FOR PERISHABLE PRODUCTS Filed July 19, 1944 8 d INVENTOR; GEORGE E KUEHNER #3 16 4- a? 2 ATTORNEY E l 0 y I Q a Patented Oct. 2, 1945 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CONTAINER FOR PERISHABLE PRODUCTS George'P. Kuehner, St. Louis, Mo. Application July 19, 1944, Serial No. 545,675
This invention relates to-improvements in containers for perishable products, and more particularly to returnable shipping containers for refrigerated perishables, the present disclosure being. directed primarils. to a container adapted ior repeated shipments of, cut flowers or like commodities, iced during transit.-,
The shipment of packaged cut flowers has heretofore presented a number of diflioulties, due to the requirement of refrigeration in transit, even during the cooler seasons. Usually ice is em played in an expendable one-time container, such as a pasteboard box of conventional form, in which cross cleats of wood'are secured by nail ing, to serve as hold-down members for thefiowers. Ice is supplied in incompletely confined manner in the container, and due to relatively early melting of-the ice, the container and con tents become so gy, and the container sometimes rendered useless, or at least in poor condition upon arrival at destination. Due to this destruction of strawboard or pasteboard mntainers'by ice water, their use for any more than a. single shipment is impossible.- Current critical shortages of paper products renders advisable the use of a refrigerated container of more durable form, and which may be used for an indefinite number of shipments with return to place of origin. It is accordingly 1;. maior obiectiv'e of the present improvements toprovide-a container for the general purpose noted, at least the 'maior elements of which may be repeatedly utilized for transit purposes; a container for such purpose which is durable, rugged and non-mating, and one which will not be damaged in any wayby moisture such as ice water:
A. further ano'important object of the invention is attained; in a cmnbinatibn c! a substantially permanent, box for the shipmerit of perishahles' and an" outer insulating enclosure, which may if desired, be of low costmaand may be of expendable nature although desirably adapted tor areasonable number of shipments.
Anadditional objective of t? 2 present improvements is realized in an improved adjustable in net ice container for a shipping package oi the type noted, and which serves the purpose of a hold-downstrue'ture for the out flowers or simila-r elongate perishable commodities in the'container, the hold-down structure being of such nature thatit' isreadily adaptable for its purpose, to difierent quantitiesor depths of the shipmeat in the container, and my be applied without the use of tools, and without extraneous fiastenings such as nails or the like.
Yet another important-object oi the invention is realized in an improved provision for confinement of ice. or other cooling medium, so as to provide a. definite coolair circulation within a shipping container of the general type noted, together with an improved proportion of the different chambers or compartments within the container, whereby better to adapt it for a specific purpose, in. the example of the disclosure being. the shipment of. cut flowers.
Still. an additional objective of the invention is attained inthe provision. oi a slurpin cootainer such. that highly perishable commodities such as cut flowers may beshipped over greater distances than. is nowpossible. inasmuch as the integrity of. the container and its structural strength are unaffected by ice water or moisture from any other cause.
The foregoing. and. still further chiecm will more clearly appear. from the following detailed description of a florists shipping container embodying the present improvements, particularly when the description is considered inconnection with the drawing in which;
Fig. 1 is a top view ot a refrigerated container, specifically the metal elements of the assembly. showing an'arrangement of contents, and with cover removed;
Fig 2 is a longitudinal sectional elevation of the structure. of Fig. l, as same would appear when viewed along line 22 thereof;
Fig. 3 is a. transverse section, partly in elevation, of the container assembly as viewed along line, 3-3 of Fig. 1, and
Fig. i is an enlarged fragmentary isometric view, showing certain structural detail of an arrangement for adjustably' positioning a. holddown agency and ice compartment within the larger container,
Referring now by characters of reference to the drawing, the permanent or semi-permanent box forming the immediate container for the perishable commodities,v is indicated generally at B, and includes side walls 10 and H,.end walls l2 and IS, a bottom 14 and a removable telescoping cover preferably of the same material at the box B, and generally indicated at C, provided with a perimetral, normally downturned flange I5. The relation between thecover C and Box B is such that when the cover is applied to the box, it will be frictionally retained in place thereon, by reason of the engagement of the flange portions I! with the upper perimknown that sheet aluminum,
eter of the box walls, in which termare collectively comprised the sides, ends, and bottom of the container.
Although any one of many impervious metallic or so-called plastic materials may be employed in the box construction, it is preferred to utilize as a material in the formation of the box B, sheet aluminum of a suitable gauge which may be welded, riveted or otherwise fabricated, preferably in the rectangular shaping shown. The cover C may be similarly formed, and preferably but not necessarily, is of the same material.
The box B with cover C is obviously serviceable as such for the transportation of many commodities, but its usefulness as an iced or otherwise internally cooled shipping container is greatly enhanced by the use of an external thermalinsulating enclosure. This is shown as being of semi-expendable nature, but without limitation to materials of this order. It has been found that if a strawboard container for example, is protected from the water resulting from melting ice, it will usually withstand say from five to ten shipments of moderate mileage, and it is so employed in the present combination. The strawboard utilized in fabrication of the outer container, generally indicated at D, consists of a bottom l6, side walls l1 and I8, end walls l9 and 20, together with a telescoping cover 25 provided with a downtumed, frictional retaining flange 26. The inside dimensions and proportions throughout the outer insulating ,container D, closely approximate the corresponding external dimensions of the box B with cover C thereon, so that the outer container closely envelops the impervious box sometimes herein referred to as the metallic container. It is well while highly T resistant to any corrosive effects of relatively pure water and for this reason is desirable as the principal container, nevertheless has a short-coming for present purpose, of a relatively high thermal conductivity. In practice, with the combination disclosed, it has been found that even under conditions of high ambient temperature the protective outer box D will serve effectively to heat-insulate the metallic box, so that it remains iced satisfactorily for its intended purpose throughout long shipments. Although the material of container D is of itself well known, it; may be noted that the specific type of strawboard now used for this purpose consists of an outer. sheet layer 21, an inner corresponding or similar layer'2&..\aIJl Onfi.QLar@: ralityofcorrugatedlayersiltherebetween. The corrugations of the intermediate layer 29 result in a distinctly air-cellular construction with excellent insulating properties.
There is of course desirably provided a container for isolating the ice or other cooling medium to prevent its physical impact with the head or bloom portions of the flowers; there is also most desirably provided a commodity holddown agency to prevent shifting of the perishables within the container therefor. Both of these requirements are met in the currently improved container by an inner casing or box structure, the essential elements of which area pair of combined cross-partitions or hold-down members exemplified by the vertical walls 35 and 36. These are in effect intermediate partitions transversely of the rectangular box B. They are positionable by means later described, at selecte vertical heights, to provide for adjustment thereof according to varying depths of the perishable commodities therebeneath.
In the preferred example of current disclosure, the partition elements 35 and 36 are supplemented by end elements 31, and a bottom 38, together with a cover 39, hereinafter described. It will be understood, however, that according to preference of the user, the bottom of the innermost box or ice container may be omitted. The advantage of a complete enclosure for the ice, lies in the fact that water from melting thereof in transit is thus usually retained in the ice compartment; on the other hand, omission of the bottom 38 permits a somewhat more direct heat exchange relation between the ice and the commodity.
Proceeding now to describe the provision for the vertical adjustment of the holddown structure and ice container, there are provided intermediate each side wall, such as H of the box B, a pair of vertical flanges 45, preferably a total of four of these being employed as shown. Each of these flanges includes, besides the base portion thereof secured to the adJacent box wall, an inwardly turned portion 48 connecting the base to the active or clamped portion 41, which by virtue of the shaping of part 46 is spaced slightly inwardly of the adjacent box wall. It will have been observed that the end walls 31 of the inner box-project, laterally of the inner box, but endwise of box B, so as guidedly to be retained between the portions and the adjacent wall, these projecting portions being indicated at 48.
The mechanism by which the holddown structure and ice container is readily adjusted to, thence retained in the desired position depthwise of the box B, is seen to include four clamping elements 49 of cam type, arranged in pair, such that those of each pair are carried by and secured to a rock shaft 50, journalled in suitable flange bushings 5| carried by the side walls 35 and 36 of the ice box structure. Each of the earns 49 is provided with a handle or actuating portion 52 forming an extension of the cam proper with which it is associated. It will be noted as an advantage that the handle 52 on each cam may be thrown so that the cam clamping assembly will be self-retaining in released position in one limit of motion of the rock shaft 50, and similarly such that the several handles 52 tend because of the handle weight, to retain the cams 49 in clamping or locking position once the ice container and holddown elements are fixed at desired depth.
It will be noted as further advantageous in that, through the interconnection of the paired cams at each end of the ice container, both cams of the pair may be similarly manipulated, either to clamping or releasing position, through actuation of either.
The clamping function of the adjustment means will have been apparent from the foregoing description of parts, but it may be noted as merely necessary, when it is desired to adjust the height or depth of the ice container, to throw the cam assemblies at the opposite ends of the container to their clotted positions, under which condition the ice container may be moved upwardly or downwardly as desired, in accordance with the depth of commodity therebelow in the box B. Having attained the optimum position for holddown purposes, such as to cause the ice container to bear firmly yet without any crushing 220. METALLIC RECEWACLES,
ring-m hrrr r'z zvllbud hal Cllihull 6 amass Search Room tendency on. the materials thereben'cath, the cam assemblies are actuated to the full line. positions shownby the drawing When thus brought in.- to position it will be noted that the cams (a coast with the projections in in a manner firmly to clamp between these. parts at each side of each ice box end, the portion 41 of the adjacent guide and adiustment flange.
The hold-down and ice box structure. may be formed of any suitable material, but it is a preference because of the-non-rusting characteristics of. aluminum, and in this case because of its high thermal conductivity, to form this innermost container of aluminum plate of suitable gauge. The elements identified with the adjustment and clamping mechanism may be of steel, preferably galvanized, sherardized or otherwise surface treated toresist rusting.
Although the partition elements and 36 may be usefully employed apart from any further ice container structure it is a preference, as making for better confinement of the cooling medium such as ice, indicated at I, to provide for the ice compartment, a cover consisting of the bridging member 33, hereinbefore referred to. The element 3.! may be formed of plate aluminum similar to elements 35 and 38 and other box parts, andiishinged to one-oi the box walls as by hinges 5A, The cover is conveniently provided alsowith suitable fastening elements, exemplified by the 1 interfltting parts 55 and 56, to retain the cover in place during shipment.
It has been found. greatly toinsure andto enhence the condition of cut flowers or the like during. shipment, particularly where iced, to provide a substantial layer of compressible absorbent material, such as a moss, waste fiber or various kinds of other highly moisture-absorbent materials. One such layer desirably extends the full inside length of the box B, and is indicated at 61L Also, by preference, there is provided a similar layer of absorbent material 61 immediately beneath the ice container and overlying the perishable commodities in shipment. This layer, by preference, does not extend over a much greater portion of the length of the box than that occupied by the ice compartment,
The compartmentization of the container is thought to have been fully apparent from the foregoing description, but when used for floral shipments it is a preference to form the ice compartment,v particularly partitions 35 and 36, of considerabLv less. height than the inside depth of the box B. and by further preference so that, with a normal loading of the perishables, as will later be referred to, there exists at least a moderate air circulation space throughout the length of the container and above the ice compartment. Such upper full length space or compartment is indicated at 61, and air is permitted freely to circulate the full length of the container to and from the ice compartment by reason of the provision of openings provided in substantial number in the ice compartment cover, the openings being indicated at 63.
It will readily appear that the vertical incompleteness or foreshortening of partitions 35 and 38, results in a full length bottom compartment in box B, occupied in substantial part by the compressible absorbent 50; immediately thereabove and at an intermediate height in the box there are aligned compartments, one at each end of the box B and the third being the ice compartment earlier noted:
It is a distinct preference to locate the ice compartment so that it serves to divide.- and proportion the length of the box between the three intermediate compartments. in the general way illustrated. Present floral shipping containers. of paper construction are more prevalently of, substantially in length, and it is. distinctly preferred to proportion this length, for example, to constitute an. end compartment at each end, say of 20 length, and an intermediate or ice compartment which may be of the order 01' 10." iongitudinally of the box. Roughly, the most desirable arrangement has been found in so arranging the partitions that the box is endwise divided into the three compartments of which the end compartments are each of the order of twice the length of the ice container.
For convenience and brevity of description the cooling medium has been referred to as ice, but it will be understood that any other cooling medium which is economically possible of use, may likewise be employed. For example, dry ice if properly shielded from the flowers or other perishables so as to obviate any destructive effects or excessive local temperatures, may also be emplayed,v and is intended to be included within the term ice," utilized in an exemplary sense.
It is a, preferred practice in usage of the container to divide theshipment say of flowers, into substantially equal parts, then to reverse them in what may be termedan end-for-end arrangement as shown by Fig 2, wherein the head portions of the flowers, which may be suitably wrapped as shown, areindicatedat E, and the stem. portions oppositely presented, also wrapped if desired as shown, and indicated by the portion F, the cut flowers being thus arranged after initially supplying or replacing. it necessary, the absorbent layer ill. The second absorbent layer 61 is then placed over the stem portions F, and the holddown structure inserted and adjusted to correct depth. The cooling. medium. such as ice I, is now disposed in the ice receptacle and the lid or cover 39. closed and secured as shown. Cover 0 is then amxed. to box B and this structure inserted in the insulating box D, the. cover thereof aflixed, tied on if desired, and properly labeled, following which the assembly is ready for shipment.
Although the assembly has been described by making detailed reference to a single preferred embodiment, the detailof description is intended as illustrative and not as limiting, since numerous variants may be. made in structure and arrangement of parts as well as in purpose or usage of the assembly, within the scope of the claims hereunto appended.
I claim as my invention:
I. A florists shipp n container consistingof a rectangulanopen-top metallic box, provided with a remoya ble covr, and adapted for repeat usage in transit, the bottom. and sides of the box being of substantially watertight construgtjpman outer insulatin box, of expendfiblcil h iu re, adapted snuglyto'receivdth metallic box, a cover for the insulating box, a holdflomstmcture including incgmpletevertical box partitions in an intermediate zone of the metallic box, and spaced above the bottom of. the metallic box to provide an ige container therein, and means within themetallic box forflfimablyiustemngathe hold-down strucggre atdiflerent adjusted vertical distances from the bottom of the box.
2. The combination and arrangement of elements substantially as recited by claim 1, but further characterized in that the provision for retention of the hold down structure in different vertical positions, is comprised of"vertica1 supporting and guiding elements on each box side wall, and a clamp at each end of the hold down structure, releasably engaging the supporting and guiding elements.
3. An enclosure for shipping iced perishables, including an impervious semi-permanent metal container for the perishables, an expendible insulated enclosure for the container consisting of a box of cellular fibrous construction, closely n c n e ggntainfifl ice container located. in substantially an intermediateibne of the impervious container, and a layer of cushioning material on the bottom of the metallic container and below the ice container.
4.The combination and arrangement of elements substantially as recited by claim 3 but further characterized in that the container includes a second layer of cushioning material, normally spaced above the perishables and the first said absorbent layer, and immediately beneath the ice container.
5. In a shipping container for out flowers or similar iced perishables, a metal box of non-rusting characteristics, a vertically adjustable holddown structure in the metal box, forming an ice compartment, and an outer box of flbrous heatinsulating material conforming generally in shape and dimensions to the walls of the metal box, a removable cover for the metal box, and a removable cover for the outer box.
6. The combination and arrangement of parts recited by claim 5, but further particularized in that the inner box and cover are formed of sheet aluminum, and the outer box is formed of strawboard, the inside dimensions of the outer box closely conforming to the exterior dimensions of the inner box and cover therefor.
'7. In a. fiorists shipping container, a permanent, returnable, metallic refrigerating box, an insulating enclosure therefor, slip-fitted over the box, and constituting an expendible envelope thereabout, a pair of transverse partitions in the metal box, spaced from each other endwise but inwardly of the ends of the box, to constitute an ice receptacle therebetween, an inner cover bridging the partitions and overlying the space therebetween, means enabling a manual adjustment of the partitions to any height or depth, for purposes of holding down a load therebeneath, the said inner cover being provided with a plurality of openings for circulation of air in the space between the transverse partitions and the compartments in the end zones of the metallic box.
8. A shipping container for perishables such as cut flowers or the like, consisting of three containers: an outer insulating container, an in termediate container of a material impervious to moisture, and an inner container constituting a combined ice-receiving compartment and holddown structure for the perishable commodities therebeneath,, and means for detachably securing the inner container in various iertically ad justed positions above the bottom of the intermediate container.
9. In a shipping container for perishable products of elongate form such as cut flowers, a rectangular insulated metallic box, a partition and hold-down structure substantially bridging opposite side walls of the box, means for detachably fastening the said structure at difierent depths within the box, said structure including wall elements spaced apart to form an ice compartment in a zone intermediate the length of the metallic box, and serving to partition the metallic box into three compartments, of which the end compartments are each of the order of twice the length of the intermediate or ice-containing compartment.
10. In a metallic ice box for the shipment of elongate perishable products such as cut flowers or the like, an internal casing including a pair of combined wall and hold-down elements, each arranged transversely of the interior of the box and each being of substantially less height than the depth of the box, means associated with said casing and the side walls of the box to enable detachable securement of the casing to the side walls in adjusted positions such that the casing normally lies in an intermediate zone lengthwise of the box, and in an intermediate zone depthwise of the box, whereby to divide the box into lowermost and uppermost compartments each substantially the full inside length of the box, and to provide therebetween, three compartments at an intermediate depth in the box, the space enclosed by the casing serving as an ice chamber.
11. In an iced shipping container for perishable commodities, a metal box, a combined ice container and hold-down member, of substantially lesser dimensions than, and arranged intermediately within the box, and means for adjusting and releasably maintaining the. ice container at a desired depth in the box, said means including a vertical flange carried by and internally of each side wall of the box, and a cam-type clamp carried by each end of the ice container,
- the clamp including a cam arranged to beat against one side of the adjacent vertical flange, and a coacting gripping member adapted to en'- gage the opposite sideof the flange, and a lever arranged, upon actuation, to rock the cam between clamping and releasing positions.
12. In a metallic ice box for the shipment of elongate perishable products such as cut flowers or the like, a combined ice casing and hold-down structure arranged transversely of the interior of the box, and being of substantially less height than the depth of the box, means associated with the casing and the side walls of the box, to enable detachable securement of the casing to the side walls in adjusted positions such that the casing normally lies in an intermediate zone lengthwise or the box and in an intermediate zone depthwise of the box and serves to divide the box into lowermost and uppermost compartments each substantially the full inside length of the box, and to provide therebetween, three compartments at an intermediate depth in the box, the spaces within and near the ends of the box arranged to be occupied by the blooms or head portions of cut flowers, with the intermediate stem portions of the flowers below the ice casing, and arranged so that the ice casing is adapted to bear against and serves to confine thestem portions of the flowers to position them during shipment, a layer of water-absorbent and cushioning material substantially coextensive with the bottom of the box for disposition below the stems and heads of the flowers and a second layer of absorbent material intervening the stem portions of the flowers and the ice casing.
GEORGE P. KU'EmIER.