US 3113710 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 10, 1963 V F. MEAGHER DISPOSABLE SERVING TRAY 2 Sheets-Shet 1 Filed Dec. 20, 1961 INVENTOR. fXfO Z. Alf/467967? BY 0% W WM flf'iM/YLUS Dec. 10, 1963 F. L. MEAGHER 3,113,710
DIIIISPOSABLE SERVING TRAY United States Patent 3,113,710 DISPOSABLE SERVING TRAY Fred L. Meagher, Blairstown, N.J., assignor to American fan Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New ersey Filed Dec. 20, 1961, Ser. No. 160,798
6 Claims. (Cl. 229-Z.5)
This invention relates to disposable serving trays and plates and particularly to fibre food serving ware of the type known in the trade as paper plates.
Disposable paper plates and trays have long enjoyed wide utility in the home, in restaurants, and for parties and picnics. More recently, passenger carriers, including rail, bus and the airlines, have recognized the desirability of disposable tableware for serving meals en route. The popularity of paper ware, generally, resides largely in its low cost and disposability, features which enable the serving of large groups without the attendant problems of storage and washing after use as is the case with the more expensive earthen and metal dish ware.
A major disadvantage of paper plates and trays, however, has been their low structural strength. Made of thin fibre stock which is relatively flexible, they tend to buckle and lose their shape when filled with food. They are thus difiicult to handle and frequently result in messy spillage and loss of food. This problem is aggravated by the tendency of the fibre to soften, particularly when exposed to hot runny foods and liquids which reduces somewhat the strength of the fibre. This represents a serious drawback to the use of paper plates and trays particularly in those instances where the food is served in one area and consumed in another. For example, it is the usual practice in passenger carriers where meals are served en route to prepare the food in the kitchenette compartment and thereafter carry individual servings to the passengers in their seats. It will be appreciated how difficult it is for the hostess or the one doing the serving to negotiate the distance to the passengers seats Without spilling the food, particularly in a moving vehicle which is never stable but more often than not is subjected to severe jostling, jolting and rocking motion.
An important object of the instant invention therefore is to provide a disposable serving tray which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable serving tray of improved structural strength and rigidity.
A further object of this invention is to provide a disposable fibre serving tray of improved structural strength and rigidity with little or no change in the quantity of material used in its manufacture.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a disposable fibre serving tray of improved structural strength and rigidity which is especially adapted for accommodating a complete meal service including auxiliary items such as containers of beverage, dessert, condiments and/ or dressings.
Numerous other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent as it is better understood from the following description, which, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, discloses a preferred embodiment thereof.
It has been found that these objects may be achieved by providing a spaced wall tray comprising a shallow dish-shaped member provided with service receiving portions placed within and in overlying relation to a deeper dish-shaped member with the two members being pressed together and firmly bonded at their peripheral marginal edges.
Referring to the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a plan view of one form of the invention;
3,113,710 Patented Dec. 10, 1963 FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the invention of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along lines 3--3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along lines 4-4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially along lines 5-5 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of another form of the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken substantially along lines 7--7 of FIG. 6.
FIGURE 1 illustrates a preferred or exemplary form of the instant invention, showing a serving tray generally designated 10 having a recessed food area 11 and a plurality of service areas 12 for accommodating auxiliary containers of beverage, dessert, condiments, dressings and the like. Although conventionally rectangular or circular in form, the tray may be of any desired configuration. As shown in FIG. 2, it is of a generally dishshaped construction so that the food and service areas are recessed within the peripheral rim of the tray.
The construction of the preferred form of the tray is best illustrated in the sectional views of FIGS. 35. Referring first to FIG. 3, tray 10 is shown comprising an upper dish-shaped panel generally designated 20 recessed in and overlying a lower dish-shaped panel generally designated 21. Upper panel 20 is substantially shallower than the lower panel and includes a planar wall 22 surrounded by an upstanding inclined wall 23 which terminates in a peripheral rim 24. A recessed portion 25 in planar Wall 22 defines the food area 11 in the upper panel. Portion 25 may be any desired configuration and include all or merely a portion of the available area of wall 22, but is shown as a generally oblong depression covering approximately half of the available wall area.
Lower panel 21 includes a substantially planar central wall 26 and a surrounding upstanding peripheral wall 27 which terminates in a peripheral rim 28 underlying rim 24 of the upper panel. The two panels are bonded together at their rims 24, 28 by adhesive or other bonding agent, resulting in the spaced wall tray 10 of rigid construction.
Preferably, the two panels are of thin fibre or paper stock, and it is the spacing apart of the panels and their bonding together at their peripheral rims which adds rigidity to otherwise flexible members. With this construction, it has been found that the panels 20, 21 may be substantially thinner than the conventional single wall trays and that improved structural rigidity is achieved even where the combined thickness of the two panels is substantially that of conventional trays. Thus, there is the obvious advantage of improved structural characteristics with little or no increase in stock thickness. Moreover, the spaced wall tray 10 has the advantage of presenting a bottom surface that is substantially continuous and uniform, since the food and service depressions are contained in the upper panel. This makes the tray easier to handle, provides a good supporting surface and frequently may help to absorb the gripping pressure of a person holding the tray which at times could otherwise cause buckling of the tray due to jolting or other unnatural movements. The relative spacing of tray panels 20, 21 also provides a structure conveniently suited for accommodating containers of auxiliary serv-. ice, as hereinafter will be more fully described.
If desired, the structural rigidity of tray 10 may be further enhanced by providing one or more projections 29 in central wall 26 of the lower panel which extend upwardly into supporting engagement with upper panel 20. In the form shown in FIG. 3, projection 29 is spaced substantially centrflly of and in supporting engagement with depression 25. This lends added support to food area 11 particularly at such times as the person using the tray desires to cut meat or other food items requiring cutting. Projection 29 may be adhesively secured or otherwise bonded to the upper panel and may be in the form of ribbing or other stiffening structure which extends in underlying engagement with upper panel 20, as desired.
Turning now to FIG. 4, service areas 12 provided in upper panel 20 are shown as cut-outs or openings 30, 31 and 32 formed in wall 22 adjacent depression 25. These openings are sized to accommodate various types of service, such as containers of beverages, dessert, condiments, dressings, etc., as illustrated in phantom in FIG. 4. The space between panels 20 and 21 receives the bottom ends of such containers which conveniently rest on lower panel 21. Encircling each opening is a depending lip or rim 33 which is sufiiciently flexible to make gripping engagement with the walls of the service containers and thereby secure them in tray 10 against inadvertent dislodgement. The remaining portions of wall 22 surrounding the service openings are suflicient to prevent excessive weakening of the upper panel and thus retain the desired rigidity of the tray.
FIGURE is a section of tray taken through both food area 11 and service area 12, again illustrating the desirable structural aspects of the spaced wall construction. It will be noted that except for the presence of the openings 30, 31 and 32 in upper panel 20, an irregular but continuous wall defined by rim 24, inclined wall 23, planar wall 22, depression 25 and lips 33 comprises the top structure of the tray. Thus, although separately flexible, the two panels 20 and 21 when firmly bonded together at their rims in spaced relation provide a tray construction of high strength and improved rigidity.
Another form of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. This form is a circular fibre plate 40 geometrically similar to well known types of paper plates. Its construction, however, is of separately formed dishshaped upper and lower panels 41, 42 assembled in spaced apart relation. As in the preferred embodiment, these panels are bonded together at their peripheral edges with the upper panel being shallower than the lower panel and disposed in recessed relation therein.
The invention has been described as particularly suitable for plates and trays of preformed fibre or paper stock. It will be understood, of course, that the invention may be practiced with plastics and other materials suitable for the manufacture of disposable trays. It will also be understood that the upper and lower panels comprising trays 10 and 40 may be impregnated with resin, coated with plastic film, or otherwise treated to resist moisture attack.
It is thought that the invention and many of its attendant advantages will be understood from the foregoing description and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention or sacrificing all of its material advantages, the form hereinbefore described being merely a preferred embodiment thereof.
1. A disposable serving tray comprising a first dishshaped member having a central portion as a bottom wall and an upstanding wall surrounding said central portion terminating in a peripheral rim, and a second dish-shaped member shallower than said first member permanently bonded to said rim in recessed overlying relation to said first member within said upstanding wall, said second member having a serving receiving portion spaced from said first member inwardly of said rim, both of said dishshaped members being formed of relatively thin flexible material.
2. The tray of claim 1 wherein a part of said central portion of said first member is embossed upwardly in supporting engagement with said serving receiving portion of said second member.
3. A disposable fibre serving tray comprising a first thin wall dish-shaped member of flexible fibre having a central portion as a bottom wall surrounded by an upstanding wall terminating in a peripherai rim, and a second thin wall dish-shaped member of flexible fibre substantially shallower than said first member having a serving receiving portion surrounded by a peripheral wall which terminates in a rim overlying said rim of said first member, said members being permanently bonded together at said rims with said second member recessed within said upstanding wall of said first member and said serving receiving portion spaced from said first mem' her.
4. The container of claim 3 wherein said second member includes at least one opening adjacent said serving receiving portion, which opening is sized to conform substantially to auxiliary food and beverage service containers to thereby permit reception of such a container within said opening with the bottom end of said container resting upon said central portion.
5. The container of claim 4 wherein said second mem ber includes flexible tabs adjacent said opening for engaging said service and securing it in said opening.
6. The container of claim 3 wherein a part of said central portion is embossed upwardly insupporting engagement with said serving receiving portion of said second member to stiffen said serving receiving portion.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,574,259 Sarlf Feb. 23, 1926 2,549,440 Enro Apr. 17, 1951 2,709,904 Boughton June 7, 1955 2,766,919 Randall Oct. 16, 1956