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Publication numberUS2956763 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 18, 1960
Filing dateMar 8, 1957
Priority dateMar 8, 1957
Publication numberUS 2956763 A, US 2956763A, US-A-2956763, US2956763 A, US2956763A
InventorsD Arca Nicholas A
Original AssigneeClark Equipment Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible pallet
US 2956763 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 18, 1960 N. A. DARCA COLLAPSIBLE PALLET Filed March 8) 1957 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. 2


Oct. 18, 1960 N. A. D'ARCA 2,956,763


Oct. 18, 1960 N, A, D'AR A 2,956,763



' 4 Sheets-Sheet a Oct. 18, 1960 N. AQD'ARCA COLLAPSIBLE PALLET 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed March 8, 1957 FIG. 8


United States Patent COLLAPSIBLE PALLET Nicholas A. DArca, Battle Creek, Mich., assignor to Clark Equipment Company, a corporation of Michigan Filed Mar. 8, 1957, Ser. No. 644,827

4 Claims. (Cl. 248-120) This invention relates to pallets for storing and transporting articles and more particularly to improvements in collapsible and tierable pallets or tote racks.

Experience has proven the well known wooden pallet to be inadequate for the handling in storage and transportation of certain heavy and/ or awkward articles such as automobile engines, transmission units, drive axle units, and the like, and of a great variety of other commonly used articles of commerce.

Such pallets as have been heretofore used for handling and storing such articles have either been structurally inadequate and subject to collapse under relatively heavy load, or, while being structurally adequate, have been overly costly and/ or complex to warrant general adoption thereof by certain industries.

It is therefore an important object of my invention to provide an improved collapsible pallet which is particularly well adapted for the handling and storage of a wide variety of articles variable in size, shape and weight.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a relatively simple and low cost collapsible pallet.

Another object of this invention is to improve collapsible pallets of the character specified such that same may be stored in a minimum of space when not in use and may be removed from storage and set up for use in a minimum of time.

A further object of this invention is to provide a collapsible pallet which is particularly well adapted for transportation from one location to another by means of well known fork lift or industrial trucks.

Other objects and advantages of my invention will appear to persons skilled in the art from the detailed description which follows.

In carrying out this invention I provide a basic collapsible pallet structure having a generally rectangular or square framework which is supported by means of a vertically extending rigid leg at each corner thereof, and having oppositely disposed collapsible legs which are hinged adjacent opposite ends of each of two opposite sides of the framework and which are rotatable from substantially horizontal to substantially vertical positions, in which latter position each of said collapsible legs is registrable with one of the rigid legs. There is also provided hollow cup means adjacent the bottom of each rigid leg which is adapted to register with the upper portion of either a corresponding leg or a collapsible leg of a second pallet, whereby a plurality of pallets may be tiered to minimize the floor space required for the handling and storage of articles.

I also contemplate the use of platform receiving means connected to the underside of the rectangular framework and registrable with fork tines, for example, of an industrial lift truck for facilitating safe horizontal and vertical movement of the pallets whether in a loaded or unloaded condition.

For a more complete understanding of the invention there is described below in detail certain constructural forms of collapsible pallets according to the invention.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of the basic pallet structure in a collapsed condition;

Figure 2 is a partial view in side elevation of the pallet shown in Figure 1 and wherein the collapsible leg portion is shown in different positions;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of a pair of tiered collapsible pallets adapted to support and handle a variety of articles;

Figure 4 is a perspective view of the tiered pallets shown in Figure 3 but in full collapsed position;

Figures 5 and 6 are views of the pallet structure in operative and collapsed conditions, respectively, adapted for the handling of different articles; and

Figures 7 and 8 are views of the basic pallet construction in collapsed and operative positions, respectively, adapted for the handling of yet difierent articles.

In the figures are illustrated only a few typical examples of the almost limitless variety of article supporting fixtures which are combinable with my basic pallet construction to efiiciently effect the storage and handling of a like variety of articles.

Referring now in detail to Figures 1 and 2, four fixed hollow leg members 10 are maintained in predetermined spaced relation one to the other by means of a square or rectangular framework 12 comprising two pairs of spaced parallel side members 14 and 16, each member of said frame being suitably secured at opposite ends thereof to adjacent sides of the legs 10. Generally H-shaped collapsible side members 20 and 22 are secured adjacent the leg ends thereof to the inner sides of oppositely disposed pairs of L-shaped hinge members 24 and '26, respectively. Each element of each pair of hinge members is pivotally connected to the outer side of one of the frame members 14 by means of a pivot pin 30. Each of the hinge members is pivoted a predetermined horizontal distance from the nearest stationary leg 10 such that upward movement of the H frames 20 and 22 effects rotational movement thereof about the aXes of the corresponding pivot'pins 30 until the longitudinal axes of the legs 10 and the corresponding leg members of the H frames are in alignment, as shown in Figure 2.

An L-shaped bracket member 32 is secured adjacent the lower end of each leg of each H frame to extend inwardly, outwardly and downwardly therefrom when the H frame is in a vertical position such that each of said bracket members is brought into abutment with the inner upper corner sections of the corresponding leg 10. The brackets 32 function to limit outward movement of the H frames to a vertical position thereof.

Attached to the lower end of each leg 10 is an inverted cup-shaped member 34 which is adapted to register with either the upper end of a leg 10 of a second pallet or with the upper end of a collapsible leg thereof. This construction, of course, permits the pallets to be stacked vertically in engaging relationship one relative to another irrespective of whether such pallets are in a collapsed or extended position.

As best shown in Figure 2, a leg of the H frame traverses an are about the center of its pivot pin 30 as it is actuated between positions of collapse and extension. Such swinging movement of the leg causes the upper end thereof to attain maximum elevation prior to alignment with the adjacent stationary leg 10. This construction is important in connection with use of the pallets in tiered relation since the weight and position of each upper rack prevents the possibility of collapsing or inward movement of the hinged H frames of the next lower pallet. In other words, the legs of each H frame cannot traverse dimension x so long as a pallet is tiered thereupon.

Optionally, a pair of inverted channel members 36may be secured to frame members 14 in selected spaced relation for the reception of fork tines, for example, of a fork lift or industrial truck. In practice, however, it has been found that for numerous applications such fork receiving means need not be provided since the fork tines are normally laterally spaced to provide a stable platform for the collapsible pallet.

From the above it will be now apparent that I have provided a simple, relatively inexpensive andefiicient collapsible pallet frame construction, each collapsible portion of which is movable in only one fixed path about an axis of rotation while being relatively rigid and immovable when tiered.

Figures 3 and 4 best exemplify the use of tiered pallets. Figure 3 illustrates the pallet as it might be used in a tier of two, wherein slatted members 38 extend across the frame members 14 and 16 for supporting. for example, power transmission devices 40, lateral stability being provided therefor by slats 42 which are supported at opposite ends thereof by generally L-shaped and elongated side members 44 having a plurality of inwardly projecting elements 45 forming slots which are adapted to receive the edge of each slat 42. Outwardly and upwardly projecting brackets 46 are secured to the one side of each H frame leg member in the middle portion thereof for supporting members 44 which include leg encircling ends 48 receivable in brackets 46.

The extended tiered pallets of Figure 3 are illustrated in collapsed and tiered rel tion in Figure 4, wherein all parts, such as side member 44 and slats 38 and 42, which are necessary to effect the proper storage and handling of such articles as transmissions 40 are conveniently stored upon the collapsed pallet for quick assembly and use.

Figures and 6 illustrate assembled and collapsed posi tions of the basic pallet when adapted for the handling of a different type of article than shown in Figures 3 and 4. for example. In this instance the coll psible portions of the frame construction include vertical bar members 50 which extend between vertically spaced horizontal members 52 of each collapsible portion, and brackets 46 which receive the leg encircling ends of each side assembly 54.

When it is desired to collapse the pallet of Figure 5, the side member 54 are raised vertically out of brackets 46 and deposited in a horizontal plane on floor member 56. and the collapsible end frame assemblies then rotated in the usual manner to the positions shown in Figure 6.

in Figures 7 and 8 there is illustrated by way of example an adapter for use with the novel pallet construction for the handling of automotive engines. As shown, a lattice of horizontal frame members 60 and 62 extend between side frame members 16 and 14, respectively. A plurality of vertically extending adapter leg members 64 are selectively positioned and secured to the lattice as required for the support of engines 66.

The above described adaptations of the basic pallet of this invention to the handling of a variety of articles are illustrative only and are not to be construed as limiting in any sense. Obviously, as pointed out hereinbefore, my pallet construction is suitable for combination with an almost limitless variety of adapters for the handling of a like variety of articles. In each instance it will be noted that the same basic pallet construction applies, and that by simple addition and variation of adapter means combinable therewith, articles of many sizes, shapes, weights and forms may be efiiciently handled and the racks may be stored in a minimum of avialable space when not in use.

Although only one basic embodiment of the invention has been particularly described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a variety of adaptations thereof is readily possible and that many changes might be made in the form and arrangement of the parts without departing from the scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A collapsible pallet or storage rack comprising a horizontal frame having four sides, an upwardly extending fixed leg supporting said frame at each corner thereof, and a rotatable leg substantially axially alignable with each of said fixed legs, each of said rotatable legs including a generally L-shaped hinge member pivotally 9 connected to the outer surface only of one of the sides of said horizontal frame adjacent one end thereof and an elongated member secured adjacent one end thereof to the inner surface only of the hinge member and extending upwardly therefrom, inward rotation only of each of said movable legs effecting movement thereof from a position of substantial alignment with a corresponding fixed leg to a collapsed position overlying an adjacent side of the frame.

2. A pallet as claimed in claim 1 wherein outward rotation of said rotatable legs is limited by bracket means connected thereto, said bracket means being registrable with a corner section only of a corresponding fixed leg.

3. A collapsible pallet or storage rack comprising a generally rectangular or square horizontal frame, a vertically extending fixed leg member located adjacent each corner of the frame, a generally L-shaped hinge member pivotally connected adjacent an extremity thereof to an outer surface of opposite end portions of each of two parallel members of said frame, a collapsible leg member secured to each of said hinge members for pivoting movement therewith about pivoted connections thereof to the frame member such that each collapsible leg member is movable with the connected hinge member in rotation only from a substantially horizontal to a substantially vertical position in longitudinal alignment with the corresponding fixed leg member, means connecting pairs of said collapsible leg members so that said pairs are rotatable in unison with the corresponding pair of hinge members to form a collapsible side frame at each end of the pallet, and means associated with each of said fixed leg members which permits a plurality of collapsible pallets to be tiered in either collapsed or extended positions, each said side frame traversing an are about its pivoted connection to the horizontal frame when ro tated toward a vertical position such that maximum elevation of the upper end thereof is reached prior to vertical disposal thereof, whereby each successively higher pallet in a tier thereof prohibits rotational movement of the side assemblies of the next lower pallet.

4. A collapsible pallet or storage rack comprising a generally rectangular or square horizontal frame, a vertically extending fixed leg member located adjacent each corner of the frame, a generally L-shaped hinge member pivotally connected adjacent an extremity thereof to opposite end portions of each of two parallel members of said frame, a collapsible leg member secured to each of said hinge members for pivoting movement therewith about pivoted connections thereof to the frame member such that each collapsible leg member is movable with the connected hinge member in rotation only from a substantially horizontal to a substantially vertical position in longitudinal alignment with the corresponding fixed leg member, and a generally L-shaped bracket member extending inwardly, outwardly and downwardly from one end of each collapsible leg member for engaging an up per corner section of the adjacent fixed leg member when the collapsible leg members are actuated into vertical positions, whereby to limit the rotational movement in one direction of each collapsible leg member.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,447,542 Seward Aug. 24, 1948 2,699,911 Chase et al. June 18, 1955 2,776,775 Averill M Jan. 8, 1957 2,781,936 .Bitney,".. .m Feb. 19,, 195.7

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