US 3099380 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 30, 1963 l. E. NATHAN 3,099,380
SEPARABLE COMPARTMENTED CONTAINER Filed Nov. 15, 1961 INVENTOR.
RWIN E. NATHAN United States Patent @i 3,099,380 SEPARABLE COMPARTMENTED CONTAINER Irwin E. Nathan, Lineolnwood, lill. (1705 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago 8, ill.) Filed Nov. 13, 1%1, Ser. No. 151,733 '7 Claims. (Cl. 229-27) This invention relates generally to basket-type containers made from a single blank of foldable sheet material such as paperboard, corrugated cardboard, or the like, and more particularly relates to a container which is compartmented and wherein the compartments may be readily separated to afford a pair of individual containers.
Containers made from pulp product mate-rials and in the form of baskets are, of course, well known and relatively widely used, such containers are particularly well suited for the packaging, shipping and handling of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables. Thus, for example, containers of this type are relatively inexpensive, light in weight, readily openable for inspection of the contents thereof, and still sufliciently strong to protect the contents during shipping or stacking of the containers.
Similarly, containers of the type under consideration have also been provided having compartments so that a convenient amount such as, for example, one dozen oranges, could be packed in each compartment. The compartmented containers likewise reduced spoilage from crushing or bruising of the produce by limiting the crushing, sliding and frictional forces to the contents of the individual compartments.
Despite the relatively widespread usage of pulp product basket-type containers as described, the same have nonetheless been characterized by certain disadvantageous features which have militated against the more universal acceptance thereof. As a matter of pure economics, it is of course desirable to package 'and ship fresh fruits and vegetables in relatively substantial quantities. Thus, for example, a typical container of the type heretofore employed might have been used to package ten pounds of tomatoes, two dozen oranges, one dozen grapefruit, two dozen cucumbers, one dozen artichokes, etc. Quite obviously, the quantities described were in general too large for ordinary consumer purchases. The grocer or other retailer was thus confronted with the problem of repackaging the produce into smaller containers or emptying the original containers and displaying the produce in bulk. Such practices were not only time consuming and expensive, but also necessitated additional handling of the produce. Since certain items such as tomatoes, persimmons, temple oranges, green peppers, and the like, are extremely delicate and easily bruised, the additional handling often resulted in wasteful spoilage.
It is, therefore, an important object of this invention to provide a compartmented basket-like container which may be readily separated to afford a pair of individual containers. The goods may thereby be retained in the original container, and the consumer may purchase the more convenient half container quantity, said latter quantity being nonetheless individually packaged in its own container.
Another object is to afford a separable compartmented container of the character described which is made from a single sheet of foldable pulp product material.
A further object is to afford a separable compartmented container of the character described in which each of the separated individual containers is equally sturdy and rigid as the original container.
Still another object is to provide a separable compartmented container of the character described in which the carrying handles of the original container function addi- Patented July 30, 1963 will appear as the description proceeds, the invention consists of certain novel features of construction, arrangement and a combination of parts hereinafter fully described, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, and particularly pointed out in the appended claims, it being understood that various changes in the form, proportion, size and minor details of the structure may be made without departing from the spirit or sacrificing any of the advantages of the invention.
For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of my invention, I have illustrated in the accompanying drawings a preferred embodiment thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, my invention, its mode of construction, assembly and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated.
Referring to the drawings in which the same characters of reference are employed to indicate corresponding or similar parts throughout the several figures of the drawmgs:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a flat blank from which a basket-container may be assembled embodying the prineiples of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the separable compartmented container during an intermediate stage of assembly from the blank of FIG. 1, with a portion being broken away to illustrate the relationship of parts; and
FIG. 3 is a similar view of the completely constructed container illustrating the individual containers during the separation of one from the other.
Turning now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the reference numeral 10* indicates generally an integrally formed pulp-product material blank for making the complete separable compartmented container of the invention. For purposes of convenience, the fold or crease lines in the blank 10 have been illustrated as broken lines while the cut lines are shown as solid lines.
The blank It! comprises an outer bottom panel 12 having connected to the opposite side edges thereof by fold lines 14 and 16, outer side wall panels 18 and 20-. A perforated tear line '22 is formed in the outer side wall panels 18 and 20 and outer bottom panel 12, said tear line bisecting said panels. The importance of the tear line 22 will become apparent as the description proceeds.
Connected to the outer side wall panels 16 and 18 by fold lines 24 and 26 are respective p ains of inner side wall panels 28, 30 and 32, 34. It will be noted that the individual panels in the pairs of inner side wall panels 28, 30* and 32, 34 are separated from each other by slits 36 and 38, said slits being of a width to snugly accommodate a double thickness of the blank 10'. Retaining tabs such as 40, 42, 44 and 46 are formed on the free edges of the inner side wall panels 28, 30, 32 and 34.
Pairs of retaining sockets or openings, such as 48 and 50, are formed through the blank 10 along the fold line 24 as indicated. Similarly, single retaining sockets such as 52 and 54 are formed through the blank along the 3 fold line 26, for purposes which will be subsequently described. The outer side wall panels 16 and 18 and inner side wall panels 28, 30, 32, 34 may also be formed with aligned ventilation openings such as 56.
End wall panels 58 and 60 are joined to opposite end edges of the outer side wall panel 20- by fold lines 62 land 64 respectively. Retaining tabs 66 and 68 are joined, respectively, to the end edges of the end Wall panels 58 and 60 by fold lines 70 and 72. The retaining tabs 66 and 68 are of identical configuration, and each is formed with a protruding retaining finger such as 74 and 76.
The end wall panels 58 and 60 have joined thereto, by fold lines 78 and 80 respectively, inner bottom panels 82 and 84. Both end edges of each of the inner bottom panels 8-2 and 84 are formed with aligned retaining notches 86, 88 and 90 92. Partition panels 94 and 96 are joined respectively to the inner bottom panels 82 and 84 by fold lines 98 and 100, and each of the partition panels terminates at the side edge thereof in a carrying handle such as 102 and 104. The end edges of the partition panels 94 and 96 have connected thereto retaining tabs 106- and .108, respectively, said retaining stabs have protruding retaining fingers 110i and 112 formed therein and are of similar but reversed configuration to the retaining tabs 66 and 68. Joined to the opposite end edges of the partition panels are smaller retaining tabs 114 and 116, said retaining tabs being provided with similar retaining fingers 118 and 120.
Cover panels 122 and 124 are connected respectively to the opposite side edges of the end wall panels 58 and 60 by fold lines 126 and 128. The cover panels 122 and 124 terminate at the side edges thereof in locking tabs 130 and 132 and it is important to note that each of the locking tabs is undercut to provide locking projections, such as 134, for purposes which will become apparent as the description proceeds.
Referring to FIG. 2 of the drawings, the manner in which the completed container is assembled from the blank of FIG. 1 may now be appreciated. Preferably, the partition panels 94 and 96 are first bent upwardly along the fold lines 98 and 100, and the inner bottom panels 82 and 84- are bent upwardly along the fold lines 78 and 80. The partition panels, along with their respective handles 102 and 104, are brought together into face to-face contact, thereby folding the end wall panels 58 and 60 along their respective fold lines 62 and 64. The outer side wall panel 20 may now be folded upwardly on the fold line 16 and then inner side wall panels 32 and 34 folded downwardly along the fold line 26. After folding the retaining tabs 66, 68, 106 and 108 along their respective fold lines the container is in the partially erected stage illustrated in FIG. 2.
From the foregoing partial assembly description, it will be seen that inner side wall retaining tabs 44 and 46 are securely held by their respective inner bottom panel retaining notches 86 and 90. The partition panels 94 and 96 are securely gripped within the slit 38 to provide two compartments within the container, While the handles 102 and 104 are in operational position for ready carrying of the container. It is likewise important to note that the retaining tabs 114 and 116 are not only securely gripped between the outer and inner side wall panels, but that the retaining fingers 118 and 120 are further locked into operational position through the retaining sockets 52 and 54.
In a similar manner, the outer side wall panel 18 may now be folded upwardly along the fold line 14 and the inner side wall panels 28, 30, folded downwardly along the fold line 24. The last described operation completes the assembly of the uncovered container wherein it will be appreciated that the retaining tabs 66, 68, 106 and 108 are securely gripped between the respective inner and outer side wall panels with the retaining tabs 40 and 42 held within the notches 88 and 92. In addition, all of the retaining fingers 74, 76, 1:10 and 112- are now 4 locked in operational position by the retaining sockets 48, 48 and 50, 50. As a result of the described cooperation between the retaining fingers and retaining sockets and between the retaining tabs and retaining notches, it may thus be appreciated that the assembled container is an extremely sturdy structure wherein inadvertent dissassembly thereof is a virtual impossibility.
To close the container, it is now simply necessary to fold the locking tabs and 132 and then fold the cover panels 122 and 124 downwardly along their respective fold lines 126 and 128. The resiliency of the pulpproduct material will cause the locking tabs to bear against their associated partition panels 94 and 96 to maintain the container in closed condition. In this condition, the handles 102 and 104 project upwardly for carrying purposes.
When it is desired to stack the containers or more securely lock the same in closed relationship, the handles 102 and 104 are bent downwardly along their respective fold lines until the same are perpendicular to their respective partition panels (see FIG. 3). The locking tabs 130 and 132 may then be inserted through their respective handles. Due to relative size of the locking tabs and handles, the tabs mus-t be forced through the handle openings, and it will thus be appreciated that upon reexpansion, the locking projections 134 cooperate with adjacent portions of the handle-s to afford a positive and secure locking means for retaining the cover panels in locked closed relationship.
Turning now particularly to FIG. 3 of the drawings, the novelty and importance of the perforated tear line 22 can be appreciated. Since the tear line lies at the exact center of the outer side panels 18 and 20 and the outer bottom panel 12, the same lies between the partition panels 94 and 96 in the fully assembled container. It is thus possible, when desired, to simply break the container in half along the tear line 22 to afford two individual containers 136 and 138. Each of the partition panels 94 and 96 new functions as an end wall for the individual containers 136 and 138, and the novel cooperation of the retaining tabs, fingers, notches and sockets insures that the individual containers are equally as sturdy and rigid as the original container.
From the foregoing description and drawings, it should be apparent without further description that I have provided a novel compartmented container which may be readily separated, when desired, to afford two individual containers of smaller capacity. Thus, the above-described problems of repacking and excessive handling of the containers contents are eliminated. As a result of the novel cooperation of the retaining members, each individual container is of a self-contained strength and rigidity equal to that of the original container. In addition, the novel cooperation between the locking tabs and handles affords a positive locking action for more securely retaining the container in closed relationship.
It is believed that my invention, its mode of construction and assembly, and many of its advantages should be readily understood from the foregoing without further description, and it should also be manifest that while a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described for illustrative purposes, the structural details are nevertheless capable of wide variation within the purview of my invention as defined in the appended claims.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
l. A container formed entirely of sheet material from a single unitary blank comprising an outer bottom wall, a pair of inner bottom walls lying end-to-end and in faceto-face contact with said outer bottom walls, an end wall connected to the outer edge of each of said inner bottom walls, a retaining tab having a retaining finger connected to each of said end walls, a partition panel connected to the inner edge of each of said inner bottom walls and lying in vertical face-to-face contact, a retaining tab having a retaining finger connected to one edge of each of said partition panels, a smaller retaining tab having a retaining finger connected to the opposite edge of each of said partition walls, a handle having a cut-out portion hingedly connected to the top edge of each of said partition panels, a pair of outer side walls connected to opposite edges of said outer bottom wall, an inner side wall connected to the free edge of each of said outer side walls, each of said inner side walls being formed with a slit to afford a pair of inner side walls, said vertical partition panels being accommodated between said slits, one of said outer side walls and associated inner side walls being [formed with four retaining notches cooperating with said end wall and partition panel retaining tab fingers for locking and maintaining said container in operationally assembled condition, the other of said outer side walls and associated inner side walls being formed with two retaining sockets cooperating with said smaller retaining tab finger for locking and maintaining said container in operationally assembled condition, a cover panel hingedly connected to each of said end walls, locking means for positively but releasably locking said cover panels in container closing relationship, and means for readily separating said container between said partition panels to afford a pair of individual containers.
2. The container of claim 1 in which said locking means comprises a locking tab connected to the free end of each of said cover panels, each of said locking tabs being undercut at opposite edges thereof to provide a pair of locking projections, said locking tabs being resilient-ly positionable through said cut-out handle portions whereby said locking projections cooperate with said handles to positively but releasably lock said cover panels in container closing relationship.
3. The container of claim 1 in which said last-mentioned means comprises a continuous perforated tear line formed in said outer bottom wall and outer side walls at the mid-point thereof.
4. A flat sheet material blank for use in making a separable compartmented container, said blank comprising an outer bottom wall panel, first and second outer side wall panels connected to the opposite side edges of said outer bottom wall panel, a pair of end wall panels connected to the opposite end edges of said first outer side wall panel, a pair of inner bottom panels connected to a side edge of said end wall panels, a pair of partition panels connected to the free side edges of said inner bottom panels, a pair of handles connected to the free side edges of said partition panels, an inwardly extending retaining flap having a retaining finger connected to the inner end edge of each of said partition panels, an outwardly extending retaining flap having a retaining finger connected to the outer end edge of each of said partition panels, an outwardly extending retaining flap having a retaining finger connected to the outer end edge of each of said end wall panels, a first inner side wall panel connected by a fold line to the free side edge of said first outer side wall panel and being formed with two retaining notches for cooperating with the retaining fingers of said inwardly extending retaining tabs, a second inner side wall panel connected by a told line to the free side edge of said second outer side wall panel and being formed with four retaining notches tor cooperating with the retaining fingers of said outwardly extending retaining tabs, said first and second inner side wall panels being formed with a slit adapted to accommodate therebetween an edge portion of said partition panels, a cover panel hingedly connected to the free side edge of each of said end wall panels, and means on said cover panels for positively but releasably locking the same in container closing relationship upon operational assembly of the container.
5. The blank of claim 4 in which .a continuous perforated tear line is formed in said outer bottom wall panel and first and second outer wall panels at the midpoint thereof, whereby the operationally assembled container may be split to provide two individual containers.
6. The blank of claim 5 in which said means comprises .a locking tab hingedly connected to the free side edge of each of said cover panels, said locking tab being undercut at opposite edges thereof to aiford a pair of locking projections, said locking projections adapted to cooperate with said handles to positively but releasably lock said cover panels in container closing relationship upon operational assembly of the container.
7. A container formed entirely of sheet material from a single unitary blank comprising; a bottom wall, a pair of side walls, a pair of end walls, a pair of partition walls positioned to afford two compartments in said container, a cover panel hingedly connected to each of said end walls, carrying handles hingedly connected to said partition walls, means on said bottom wall and side walls for readily separating said compartments to afford two individual containers, one of said side walls being provided with four retaining sockets, tour retaining fingers hingedly connected to said end walls and partition walls, said side walls being provided with two retaining sockets, an additional retaining finger hinged-1y connected to each of said partition walls, said retaining sockets accommodating said retaining fingers therethrough to lock and maintain said container and individual containers in operationally assembled condition.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,128,342 Zalkind Aug. 30, 1938 2,791,362 Nute May 7, =l957 2,838,221 Wilson June '10, 1958 3,014,636 Fielding Dec. 26, 1961