US 2850153 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
SPf 2 1958 l l A. cosEN-rlNo 2,850,153
v DIsPosABLE CARTON Filed Aprilv 15, 1955 .-,gmtg
DISPSABLE CARTON Anthony Cosentino, Chicago, Ill., assigner to Ful-Vue- Pak Company, Chicago, lll., a corporation of fllinois Application April 15, 1955, Serial No. 501,649
3 Claims. (Cl. 24m-45.33)
This invention relates to a disposable carton useful particularly `in the packaging of tomatoes, but also being useful in the packaging of similar fruits and vegetables, especially those that are relatively soft and easily bruised and damaged.
In the packaging of tomatoes, a carton is advanced along a conveyor and tomatoes are placed therein by hand. The filled carton is then fed to an automatic wrapping machine that Wraps a transparent lm about the carton, and if the film is a thermoplastic, the machine seals the plastic film in place about the carton. The cartons most generally used today are paper tubes which States atet do not adequately protect the easily damaged tomatoes,
and are not desirable from the purchasing consumers point of View because they conceal the tomatoes to a considerable extent and make inspection thereof diiicult. While some plastic cartons have been used to a limited extent, they have not been completely satisfactory because the means of support provided for the tomatoes has been of such character that the tomatoes are bruised by the support members. Further, in the packaging operations the cartons are frequently advanced over a stationary conveyor table by moving flight bars, and the tomatoes after being placed in the cartons frequently engage the stationary table and are rolled about and abraded as the carton is advanced along the table. There is a need, then, for an improved carton or tray for the packaging of tomatoes and similar articles.
It is, accordingly, an object of this invention to provide a carton or tray for the packaging of tomatoes that is capable of protecting the tomatoes to minimize damage thereto, and that at the same time permits the packaged tomatoes to be visually inspected in their entirety. Another object of the invention is to provide an inexpensive disposable carton adapted to accommodate readily the irregular shapes of tomatoes while affording protection for the tomatoes. A further object of the invention is to provide in a tomato carton, support platforms characterized by being able to receive and positively support tomatoes therein irrespective of their irregular shapes, and resilient side walls adapted to grip the tomatoes. Still a further object is to provide in a structure as described support platforms comprising a pair of concentric rings spaced from each other, the rings being operative ot provide relatively large support surfaces engageable With tomatoes over wide areas thereof and to thereby distribute the forces of support, the rings also serving to separate tomatoes from a conveyor table and to grip tomatoes and positively hold the same. Additional objects and advantages will appear as the specification proceeds.
An embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in Which- Figure 1 is a top plan view of a carton embodying the invention; Figure 2 is a longitudinal sectional view partly in elevation taken along the line 2 2 of Figure l; Figure 3 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 3 3 of Figure 1; Figure 4 is an enlarged broken Patented Sept. 2, 1958 sectional view taken along the line 4 4 of Figure 1; and Figure 5 is a sectional view of one of the support platforms taken along the line 5 5 of Figure l.
The carton or tray is equipped with side Walls 10 and 11, end walls 12 and 13, and a bottom that is designated generally with the numeral 14 which comprises a plurality of spaced apart support platforms. The bottom of the carton is defined vby a perimetric frame having side rails 16 and 17 connected at their ends by end rails 18 and 19. Each of the end walls, in turn, is defined in part by the end rails and by the side members 20 and 21, that at their upper ends are connected by a transverse bar 22. A vertical upright 23 extends between the bottom rail 18 and upper support member 22 intermediate the side members 20 and 21.
The side walls 10 and 11, in turn, are defined in part by the longitudinally extending rails 16 and 17, as the case may be, and by a longitudinally extending bar 24 that is secured to the rail by means of a plurality of spaced apart struts 25. As is seen most clearly in Figure 2, the side Walls and end walls are separated from each other and are, therefore, independent structures.
Each of the support platforms 15 is formed by a pair of spaced apart concentric rings 26 and 27 that are joined together by a'plurality of spaced apart legs 2S. 1n the specific illustration given, the legs 23 are four in number and are spaced apart by The inner ring 26 defines an opening 29 therethrough, and intermediate the rings 26 and 27 and between adjacent legs 28 are elongated arcuate slots 30. The platforms 15 are connected respectively to the side rails 16 and 17 by arms 31 and 32. Each of the platforms, in turn, while being spaced from each other, are connected by the longitudinally extending arms 33; and in the case of the end platforms, those are connected to the end rails 13 and 19 by certain of the arm members.
In use of the cartons, a plurality thereof will be stacked in nested relation, and it is contemplated that they will be dispensed from a magazine onto a conveyor table one by one. For this reason, it is desirable to separate the nested cartons from each other, and this is accomplished by equipping the carton at the corners thereof with vertically extending stops 34. The stops 34 are oriented so that the upper edges thereof engage the side rails 16 and 17 of a carton received therein.
Preferably, the cartons are formed of plastic that may be colored, opaque or translucent. The cartons may be molded in such manner so that the entire carton is provided in a single molding operation. While a number of different materials may be employed, it is preferred that the carton be relatively flexible and have such flexibility that the end walls 12 and 13 and side Walls 10 and 11 can dex outwardly slightly. A material that has been found effective is polyethylene.
By referring to Figure 2 it will be seen that the struts 25 are spaced apart and are oriented intermediate the support platforms 15. Thus, individual tomato compartments are provided in effect between the paired and separated struts 25 and the platform 15 oriented therebetween. For purposes of identication, these compartments are designated generally with the numeral 35 and are seen best in Figures 1 and 2. The side Walls 10 and 11 angle upwardly and outwardly at a slight inclination that is most apparent in Figures 3 and 4; and similarly, as is sho-wn best in Figure 2, the end Walls 12 and 13 angle upwardly and outwardly. The stops 34, on the other hand, are substantially vertical, and in any event should be so oriented that they readily receive thereon the bottom rails of a carton that is nested therein.
Tomatoes are readily placed Within the carton as it is advanced along a conveyor. The carton illustrated is adapted to receive four tomatoes, and each tomato will be placed upon one of the support platforms 15 and between the side walls 10 and 11. Each tomato, then, will be aligned within one of the compartments 35. The side walls, and particularly the portion of the rail 2 4 in alignment with the compartment 35 and that extends between struts 25, are slightly resilient and will yield outwardly so as to accommodate tomatoes that are slightly larger than the distance between the side walls. Those bar portions will grip the tomato on each side thereof and tend to hold it firmly within the compartment. The side walls throughout their length afford limited and independent flexibility for each of the compartments so that, in effect, the separate tomatoes are individually gripped and the side walls are able to accommodate slight variations in tomato size. As has been brought out before, the end walls 12 and 13 are also resilient and can be flexed outwardly when necessary.
The support platforms elevate the tomatoes and separate the same from a conveyor table and from other support surfaces on which the cartons may be placed. Thus, there is no bruising of the tomatoes by abrupt engagement thereof with a support surface, and no abrading of the tomato skin during packaging as the carton is advanced by conveyor apparatus. outer rings afford considerable flexibility in the character of the support that they provide for tomatoes. Tomatoes vary considerably in irregularity of shape and size, and the concentric rings offer variations in support characteristics that readily accommodate such irregularities. Thus, tomatoes can be supported separately by the inner or outer rings, or portions of a tomato can be supported by the individual rings while both of the rings engage other portions of the tomato. The elongated slots 30 cooperate with the rings in their support function in that they provide a gripping action in conjunction therewith that stabilizes a tomato carried by the support platform.
While in the foregoing specification and embodiment of the invention has been set forth in considerable detail for purposes of illustration, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous changes may be made in those details without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention.
l. In a tomato packaging carton adapted for use in the provision of a package comprising such carton, tomatoes therein and a transparent wrapper sealed thereabout, a perimetric frame of generally rectangular configuration having side and end rails defining a plane along The inner and the bottom edges thereof, side walls and end walls extending respectively upwardly from said side and end rails, a plurality of support platforms interposed medially between said side rails and being spaced from each other along the length of said carton as determined by said end rails each for receiving one such tomato thereon, and a pair of support arms for each of said platforms respectively formed integrally with said side rails, extending inwardly therefrom and being also formed integrally with the platforms, said support platforms and arms lying along such plane defined by said rails for juxtaposition therewith, each of said support platforms comprising a plurality of relatively narrow support elements oriented with respect to each other so as to define a plurality of openings in each support platform, at least one of said support elements in each platform being a ring having an outer diameter greater than half the distance between said rails and confining the other of the related support elements therewithin.
2. The carton structure of claim 1 in which a plurality of longitudinally extending arms are provided respectively interposed between and terminating at said support platforms and said end rails and support platforms and being integral therewith, and in which arcuate spaces are defined between said ring support element and said support elements confined therewithin.
3. The carton structure of claim 2 in which each of said support platforms is provided by a pair of concentric circular elements, and in which said circular elements are integrally connected by extensions of said arms, are of substantially equal radial thickness and are spaced apart by a distance also substantially equal to such radial thickness.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS