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Publication numberUS3145870 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 25, 1964
Filing dateMar 21, 1962
Priority dateMar 21, 1962
Publication numberUS 3145870 A, US 3145870A, US-A-3145870, US3145870 A, US3145870A
InventorsWarren H Lockwood
Original AssigneeWarren H Lockwood
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reversible nesting and stacking container
US 3145870 A
Abstract  available in
Images(14)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND sTAcKING CONTAINER Filed March 21, 1962I 14 Sheets-Sheet l Jump .ull

INVENTOR. WdRRAw f7! ac/ rwaaa FTJNEYS Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 21, 1962 14 sheets-sheet 2 IN VENTOR. Wye/PEN ac/rwaoo -227g- 7 E11-g. @mwwgm /77'74/PNEYJ Al1g- 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND sTAcKING CONTAINER Filed Margoh 21, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR. W/fff/E/v H ac/wana TTRNEYS Aug. 25, 1964 Filed March 2l, 1962 45@ Eigliw. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND STEERING CONTAINER 14 Sheets-Sheet 4 Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwoD REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 2l 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 5 J l N INVENTOR. Wmv/vzw h. ocfrwaoa llg- 2.5, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD v 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER mvENToR. Wenns/v hf acfrwaaa BY f ,77- ro/vweys Aug. 25, 1964 W. H. LOCKWOOD REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER jig. E5

IN V EN TOR.

Aug. 25, 1964 W H. LOCKWOOD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 21, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 8 INVEN TOR. WHR/mv oc/(woog HraRA/EYJ Aug- 25, 1964 W. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 2l, 1962 14 Sheets-SheeiI 9 @WM/191% @MME W Aug- 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD 3,147@

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 21, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet lO 4Z r I I 4Z I Iv /444 IIIv V r l, @KEI i@ E8 E.;

Il' I Y I [lill l III INVENTOR. (7E .742.- WML/TEN H. acffwaoo L Y www@ /MEW 4 El g4 @Tra/mens Aug. 25, 1964 W. H. LOCKWOOD REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 2l, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 1l /J' Z l z jfl-@.451

d vllrgfz IN1/ENT WHR/95N H. om a o @Tran/Veys Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NESTING AND STACKING CONTAINER Filed March 2l, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet l2 m1* i A220 INVENToR. .2/ WHR/PEN H. Locfrwaoa Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD 3,145,870

REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND sTAcKING CONTAINER Filed March 2l.- 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 15 INVENTOR. WHR/EEN H.` vwurm/aac# Aug. 25, 1964 w. H. LocKwooD REVERSIBLE NEsTING AND sTAcKING CONTAINER Filed Maren 21, 1962 14 Sheets-Sheet 14 267 2f@ d l l/ INVENTOR. Wwf/TEN H A0C/(WMD United States Patent O .3,145,870 REVERSBLE NESTING ANI) STACKING CONTAINER Warren H. Lockwood, 1329 Granvia Altamira, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. Filed Mar. 2l, 1962, Ser. No. 181,430 9 Claims. (Cl. 22d-4) This invention relates to improvements in trays or receptacles, and more particularly to that type tray adapted to form a receptacle by coacting with an upside down similar tray, to nest with similar trays when empty, and to tier with similar trays to form a generally vertically aligned stack of trays or receptacles.

This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending United States patent application, Serial No. 35,535, filed .lune 13, 1960, and entitled Reversible Nesting and Stacking Container, and now abandoned.

Whenever in the specification and claims these trays are referred to as trays, it is intended that this term includes crates, boxes, baskets, trays, skids, pallets, iiats and similar article carrying devices which may form receptacles and which have at least one open side. Whenever in the specification and claims the term receptacle is used, it is intended to define a structure composed of two such trays, one upside down with respect to the other, with the open sides facing each other. The words similar trays are intended to include all trays having identical tiering support parts engaging in tiering position, and/ or having identical receptacle forming support parts engaging in receptacle forming position Whether the vertical heights of the trays are the same or are different. These trays may be tiered one upon another, when in use, and be nested when empty for conservation of space. Like trays would be similar trays with each tray having the same vertical height. Since similar trays includes like trays, the description will use the term similar trays wherever possible.

One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a tray tierable, nestable, or adapted to form receptacles with similar trays with this tray having no moving parts, and having rigidly connected receptacle forming support parts or receptacle tiering support parts for either forming receptacles or providing tiering engagement with similar trays.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a tray characterized by its inexpensive manufacturing cost, strong and sturdy nature, structural simplicity, ease of manufacture, compactness in nesting position with similar trays, multiplicity of functional advantages, and/or ease of assembly with similar trays in tiering, nesting, or receptacle forming positions.

Other features of this invention reside in the arrangement and design of the parts for carrying out their appropriate functions.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the accompanying drawings and description and the essential features will be set forth in the appended claims.

In the drawings,

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a first form of tray;

FIG. 2 is a bottom View of the tray shown in FIG. l;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational View of the tray in FIGS. l and 2;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of two similar trays, of the type shown in FIG. 1, in nesting position;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the same two similar trays in receptacle forming position;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of these two similar trays in tiering position;

FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 7-7 in FIG. 5;

3,145,870 Patented Aug. 25, 1 964 FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 8-8 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of a second form of tray shown in solid lines with the outline of a similar tray shown in dot-dash lines immediately prior to being moved clockwise in the direction of the arrow to reach receptacle forming position with the tray shown in solid lines;

FIG. 10 is a bottom View of the tray in FIG. 9 shown in solid line and a portion of the bottom of a similar tray shown in dot-dash line position immediately before being moved clockwise in the direction of the arrow into engagement with the tiering support parts of the solid line tray in tiering position;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational View of the tray in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of two similar trays, of the type shown in FIG. 9, in nesting position;

FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of three similar trays, of the type shown in FIG. 9, with the bottom two trays in receptacle forming position and the top two trays in tiering position;

FIG. 14 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 14-14 in FIG. 9 with two similar trays in receptacle forming position;

FIG. l5 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 15-15 in FIG. 9 of two trays in receptacle forming position;

FIG. 16 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 16-16 in FIG. 10 through two trays in tiering position;

FIG. 17 is an enlarged perspective view of one of the four tray tiering support plates removed from the base part of the tray in FIG. l0;

FIG. 18 is a sectional view, similar to FIG. 16, of a portion of a third form of tray, a modiiication of the second form of tray shown in FIGS. 916, having a modified tiering support part construction;

FIG. 19 is a side elevational view of three similar trays of a fourth tray form with these trays shown in nesting position;

FIG. 20 is a side elevational View of four similar trays, of the type shown in FIG. 19, with the bottom two trays in receptacle forming position, the middle two trays in tiering position, and the top two trays in receptacle forming position;

FIG. 21 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 21-21 in FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is a side elevational view of a dolly having a tray supporting surface constructed to support the trays in nesting position in FIG. 19 with corresponding parts in vertical alignment so that similar trays may be nested into a high and stable stack;

FIG. 23 is a side elevational view of a plurality of similar trays of a fth form with each tray being a slight modification of the tray shown in FIGS. 19-21, with the ten trays in FIG. 23 arranged to form five separate receptacles with each having a pair of trays in receptacle forming position, and with vertically adjacent receptacles being engaged in tiering position;

FIG. 24 is an end view of the stack in FIG. 20 showing in detail the tray tiering support parts and being taken generally along the line 24-24 in FIG. 25;

FIG. 25 is a schematic top view showing the top surface of the bottom tray in FIG. 24 in solid line position and the bottom surface of the top tray in FIG. 24 in double dot-dash line position when laterally offset and in dot-dash line position when vertically aligned in tiering position;

FIG. 26 is an enlarged perspective View of one of the tray tiering support parts;

FIG. 27 is a perspective view of another form of tiering support part useable, in the manner shown in FIGS. 24 and 25, in FIG. 23;

FIG. 28 is a top plan view of a sixth form of tray;

FIG. 29 is a bottom plan view of the tray in FIG. 28;

FIG. 30 is a side elevational view of the tray in FIG. 28;

FIG. 31 is a side elevational view of three similar trays, of the type shown in FIG. 28, in nesting position;

FIG. 32 is a side elevational View of two similar trays of the type shown in FIG. 28 in receptacle forming position in solid lines with the top tray swung to the dotted line raised position by a hinge type action, and with a lower, nested tray of greater depth added in dot-dash line at the lower left hand corner;

FIG. 33 is a side elevational view of two trays of the type shown in FIG. 28 in tiering position;

FIG. 34 is a perspective view, taken from the top, of a corner of one of the trays of FIG. 28;

FIG. 35 is a vertical sectional view of the trays in FIG. 33 showing the interlocking action in the tiering position;

FIG. 36 is a vertical sectional view of similar trays, of the type shown in FIG'. 28, with the lower two trays in tiering position, the upper two trays in nesting position, and the lower and upper trays being one-half the depth of the middle tray;

FIG. 37 is a vertical sectional view, similar to FIG. 35, of a plurality of trays of a seventh form which is a modification of the trays of the sixth form shown in FIGS. 28-36, but having a smooth inside bottom surface;

FIGS. 38, 39 and 40 are bottom plan views of portions of an eighth, ninth and tenth form of tray (a modification of the sixth form of tray shown in FIG. 28) having a modified tiering support part construction;

FIG. 4l is a bottom plan view of the base of an eleventh form of tray;

FIG. 42 is a section taken along the line 42-42 of FIG. 41;

FIG. 43 is a bottom plan view of a twelfth form of tray;

FIG. 44 is a section taken along the line 44-44 of FIG. 43;

FIG. 45 is a bottom plan view of a thirteenth form of tray;

FIG. 46 is a top plan view of a fourteenth form of the tray;

FIG. 47 is a bottom plan view of the tray of FIG. 46;

FIG. 48 is a section taken along the line 48-48 of FIG. 46;

FIG. 49 is a section FIG. 46;

FIG. 50 is a section taken generally along the line Sli-50 of FIG. 46 but showing two of the trays in nested position;

FIG. 5l is a top plan view of a fifteenth form of the tray;

FIG. 52 is a side elevation of the tray of FIG. 51;

FIG. 53 is a section taken generally along the line 53--53 of FIG. 5l but showing two of the trays in nested position;

FIG. 54 is a top plan view of a cover or divider for use with the trays of FIGS. 28-38, 40, 43-52, and 57-59;

FIG. 55 is an edge view of the cover of FIG. 54;

FIG. 56 is a section taken along the line 56-56 of FIG. 54;

FIG. 57 is a top plan view of a sixteenth form of the tray;

FIG. 58 is a side elevation of the tray of FIG. 57;

FIG. 59 is a section taken generally along the line 59-59 of FIG. 57 but showing two of the trays in nested position; and

FIGS. 60-62 semdiagrammatically illustrate various combinations of the items illustrated in FIGS. 28-59 in nested and/or receptacle forming positions.

Before the trays and receptacles here illustrated are specifically described, it is to be understood that the invention here involved is not limited to the structural details or arrangement of parts here shown since trays and receptacles embodying the present invention may take various forms. It also is to be understood that the phrase- 'taken along the line 49-49 of ology or terminology herein employed is for purposes of description and not of limitation since the scope of the present invention is denoted by the appended claims.

The first tray form is shown in FIGS. 1-8. This tray 10 is constructed (1) for forming a receptacle 11 in FIG. 5 by coacting with an upside down similar tray 10, (2) for tiering with similar trays in tiering position in FIG. 6, and (3) for movement into nesting position with similar trays, as shown in FIG. 4. This tiering position in FIG. 6 is especially adapted for tiering a plurality of tray formed receptacles 11 in the manner shown in FIGS. 13, 2O and 23.

Each tray 10 may be made in many diterent ways and by many different materials. Tray 10 may be manufactured by vacuum formed plastic, drawn aluminum sheet, open wire mesh, plastic cast in cavity molds, or plywood. Each tray 10 may have solid walls or open wire mesh walls.

Tray 10 has rigidly interconnected together a base part 12 for load support, such as supporting an article 13 in FIGS. 3 and 5; two side parts 14 and two side parts 15 rigidly connected with base part 12, and located on the upward one side of and projecting upwardly to this one side of base part 12 for forming a portion of receptacle 11; receptacle forming support parts 16 rigid with parts 12, 14 or 15 and located on the same upward one side of base part 12 for forming with a similar tray, as shown in FIG. 5, receptacle 11 in the receptacle forming position; and tray tiering support parts 20 rigid with some of these aforementioned parts, adapted to interengage to maintain similar trays in the tiering position shown in FIG. 6, and having tiering engagement portions located on the other or lower side of base part 12 from parts 14, 15 and 16.

Use of receptacle or container 11 is especially desirable for shipping articles 13 by common carrier where enclosed protection of these articles would be desirable. Receptacle forming support parts 16 have four receptacle forming edges 17 located generally on the surface of a right parallelepiped having one face thereof coplanar with base part 12. These edges 17 have projection and projection receiving portions 18 and 19 respectively. Receptacle 11 in FIG. 5 is formed by two trays 10, a right side up bottom tray 10 and an upside down similar tray 10, coacting with parts 16, edges 17, and portions 18 and 19 mutually engaged. Projection portions 18 are located in projection receiving portions 19 and receptacle forming side parts 14 and 15 are vertically aligned to form completely enclosed receptacle 11. When the corners formed by side parts 14 and 15 are vertically aligned on similar trays 10, receptacle 11 is properly formed.

A plurality of receptacles 11 may be interlocked in tiering position to provide a tiered stack of receptacles, as partially shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, by interengagement of tray tiering support parts 20 on similar tray 10. These tiering support parts 20 are engaged on similar trays to maintain trays 10 in tiering position. These tiering support parts 20 include tiering projection portions 21 and tiering projection receiving portions 22 located one within the other and interengage in the tiering position in FIGS. 6 and 8. There, the receptacle forming side parts 14 and 15 are vertically aligned so that all of the trays 10 will be easily maintained in this tiering position even though the tiered stack may be very high. When the corners of trays 10 are vertically aligned, their tray tiering support parts 20 will be properly engaged.

When a plurality of similar trays 10 are correspondingly positioned, they are easily moved into the nesting position in FIG. 4 by relative approach movement of their base parts 12 with the upper tray moving downwardly into the lower tray. It should be readily apparent that after articles 13 are removed from the trays 10 and receptacles 11, the empty trays 10 may be moved into this nesting position for return as a compact stack back to the original shipper or to the loading position.

As will be apparent hereinafter, the description of the structure and mode of operation in the preceding paragraphs relating to trays and receptacles 11 also applied generically to the same named parts, etc. in FIGS. 9-27.

FIGS. 9-17 disclose tray 30 having rigidly interconnected base part 32; side parts 34 and 35; receptacle forming support parts 36 including four receptacle forming edges 37, projection portions 43C and 43d, and projection receiving portions 43a and 43h; tray tiering support parts 40 including tiering projection portions 47a and 47C and tiering projection receiving portions 47h.

Each tray 30 in FIG. 18 is identical to tray 30 except for a modied form of base part 32 and for the tray tiering support parts 40 (four in number but only one being shown) having projection portions 47a and projection receiving portions 32a and 47b.

FIGS. 19-22 and 24-26 disclose tray 50 having rigidly interconnected base part 52; side parts 54 and 55; receptacle forming support parts 56 including four receptacle forming edges 57, projection portions 63e and 65, and projection receiving portions 63h and 64; and tray tiering support parts 60 including tiering projection portions 60d and 60e in FIGS. 24 and 26, and tiering projection receiving portions 60g.

Each tray 50 in FIGS. 23 and 27 has substantially the same parts as tray 50 in FIGS. l9-21 except for modied side parts 54' and 55', and tiering support parts 60' in FIG. 27 including tiering projection portions 60d and 60e' and tiering projection receiving portions 60g.

The diiTerent forms of trays in FIGS. 1-28 have many different forms of receptacle forming support parts.

Tray 10 in FIGS. 1-8 has receptacle forming support parts 16 arranged along four receptacle forming edges and including projection portions 18 and projection receiving portions 19. These projections 18 and 19 on opposite edges 17, as seen in FIG. l, are arranged as reversed mirror images. These edges 17 form a square in FIG. 1 on the surface of a right parallelepiped with the square lying in a plane parallel -to base part 12. Now, it should be apparent that two trays 10, one right side up and the other upside down, will form, by interengagement of their receptacle forming support parts 16, receptacle 11 with side parts 14 and 15 thereof vertically aligned. Note that the receptacle will be formed with the upside down, top tray 10 in FIG. 5 in either of four 90 degree displaced positions around vertical center axis Y in FIG. 1 because of the construction of the projection portions 18 and projection receiving portions 19 so that four dilerent receptacle forming positions are possible. Hence, it is possible to form receptacle 11 in any of these four 90 degree displaced positions instead of in only one position. This is true because any two opposite receptacle forming edges 17 have on each edge both a projection portion 18 and projection receiving portion 19 instead of only one of these portions.

In FIG. 5, receptacle 11 is formed from two like or identical trays 10. However, it will be apparent that a plurality of similar trays, such as trays of different depth, will provide the same advantages. Each of these similar trays will have identical tiering support parts 20 engaging in tiering position in FIG. 6 and have identical receptacle forming support parts 16 engaging in the receptacle forming position in FIG. 5. However, some tray may be of smaller depth, such as three inches, while other trays will be exactly identical except of greater depth, such as four inches so that these are similar trays. Since all parts 16 and 20 are identical, a receptacle 11 can be formed from two three inch depth trays 10, or from one three inch depth and one four inch depth tray 10. Thus, with these two different tray depths, it is possible to get with a plurality of trays three diiferent receptacle vertical dimensions; with three different tray depths, it is possible to get six different receptacle vertical dimensions; with four different tray depths, it is possible to get ten different receptacle depth dimensions; etc. TheseV similar trays of different depths will nest together in the manner shown 6 in FIG. 4, although not as eiciently as the trays 10 shown in FIG. 4 of identical or like size.

It will be apparent hereinafter that the description of the receptacle forming support part 16 in the immediately preceding paragraphs applies equally well to the same named parts, positions, etc. in FIGS. 9-18.

Two trays 10 in FIG. 5 form receptacle 11 by interengagement of receptacle forming support parts 16. Parts 16 have four edges 17 arranged along a square and each receptacle forming edge 17 has bar-like projections portions 18. These provide, as shown in FIG. 3, a level silhouette for receptacle 10. Then, when upper tray 1t) is turned upside down on top of lower tray 10, the upper tray will be dragged across the lower tray, without hang up, by smooth movement into vertical alignment with the receptacle forming position in FIG. 5 so that it may drop downwardly into receptacle forming position shown in FIG. 5.

Trays 30 lin FIGS. 9-17 and trays 30 in FIG. 18 form receptacle 31 in FIG. 13 in exactly the same manner so the description will be restricted to trays 30. Receptacle forming support parts 36 are formed along four receptacle forming edges 37. These parts 36 include four coplanar anges 43 extending outwardly from side parts 34 and 35 and generally parallel to base part 32, inwardly facing hook 43a at corresponding ends of each tiange, and a hole 43b and struck up bump 43a` on each flange. These parts 36 are preferably made of resilient material, such as steel, so they can interengage after yielding. To form receptacle 31, flanges 43 of two like trays, a right side up lower tray and an upside down upper tray, are placed in parallel and vertically spaced apart planes and in vertical alignment. Then, upper tray 30 is rotationally displaced counterclockwise about vertical axis X in FIG. 9 into the dot-dash line posit-ion in FIG. 9 out of vertical alignment, the base part 32 of the upper tray is moved downwardly toward lower tray 30 in approach movement until their respective anges 43 engage and are straddled by hooks 43a, and upper tray 30 is rotationally displaced clockwise about vertical axis X in the opposite or clockwise direction in FIG. 9 until receptacle forming side parts 34 and 35 are vertically aligned to form receptacle 31 in the receptacle forming position in FIG. 13. Then, each tray has its hooks 43a engaged over a flange on the other tray, and has its bumps 43C detachably engaged in holes 43h on the other tray. Flanges 43 have an outline of a square in FIGS. 9 and 10 so that these like trays may be engaged in any of four, degree displaced positions about vertical axis X to form receptacle 31. Hooks 43a prevent the receptacle forming trays 30 from vertically disengaging unless the upper tray is twisted in a reverse direction (counterclockwise in FIG. 9 about axis X). To prevent accidental untwisting of these trays about axis X, bumps 43C are detachably engaged in holes 43b so that a certain amount of manual twisting force must be applied to disengage the trays 30. Of course, spring clips, studs, or other detachable connections might be used in place of holes 43b and bumps 43o. Now, it should be apparent that projection portions are formed by bumps 43C and by the portions 43d of flanges 43 received by a hook 43a on an adjacent like tray 30 in receptacle 31. Projection receiving portions are formed by holes 43b and by hooks 43a.

Receptacles 50 and 50 in FIGS. 19-27 have identical type receptacle forming position support parts 56 so the description will be restricted to receptacles 50. These parts 56, being formed on generally coplanar flanges 63 extending outwardly from opposite side parts 54 at opposite edges 57, include on the top of each flange 63 linearly aligned a bar as projection portion 63C and a slot as this projection receiving portion 63b. Parts 56 also include hook portion 64 (preferably made of spring steel so as to be resiliently deformable) and hook receiving portion 65 respectively facing in opposite vertical directions from the top surface of flanges 63 and located on opposite ends of receptacle 50 between side parts 54 having these projection and projection receiving portions 63e and 63h.

Receptacle 51 is formed by taking two like trays 50, one right side up and the other inverted; snapping the resilient hook 64 on the right-hand end of the upper tray in FIG. 2() over the hook receiving portion 65 on the right-hand end of the tray immediately therebelow; and swinging the upper tray counterclockwise about this righthand end as a pivot until receptacle 51 is formed with portion 6311 and 63C interengaged, as shown in FIGS. 20 and 21, and with the hook receiving portion 65 on the upper tray snapped into the resilient hook 64 on the tray immediately thereinbelow.

This tray 50 could be of value in shipping products needing protection in closed receptacle 51, especially protectively wrapped products. Then, when the trays 5t) were disconnected, each tray 50 could be used as a display tray because of the inclined angle of its upper edges 57 on side parts 54. It should be noted that the upside down tray 50 can be interengaged with a low similar tray in only one position to form receptacle 51, instead of the four 90 degree displaced positions described for receptacles in FIG. 1-18.

Now, there will be discussed sequentially the tray tiering support action provided between adjacent similar trays by tray tiering support parts 20 in FIG. 6, parts 40 in FIG. 13, 40 in FIG. 18, parts 6l) in FIG. 24, and parts 60 in FIG. 27.

Like trays are tiered in FIG. 6 by interengagement of their tray tiering support parts 20. These parts on each tray in FIG. 2 are rigid with and located on the bottom side of base part 12, arranged along the outline of a square having four equal length tiering sides respectively located equidistance from the four receptacle orrning edges 17 and centered with respect to base part 12. Each tiering support side 26 has tiering projection portions 21 and tiering projection receiving portions 22 arranged so that the portions on opposite tiering sides and from the intersection of adjacent tiering sides are reversed mirror images. Now it should be apparent that two similar trays 10, the lower one upside down in FIG. 6 and the upper one right side up, may have their tiering support parts 2G engaged to maintain the similar trays in the tiering position shown in FIG. 6 with receptacle forming edges 17 vertically aligned when the trays 10 are tiered in any of four 90 degree tray displaced tiering positions about vertical axis Y in FIG. l. As will be apparent here-- nafter, the description of the structure and mode of operation in this paragraph on tray tiering support parts 20 applies equally well to the same named parts, positions, etc. in FIGS. 9-18.

Tiering support parts 20 in FIG. 2 include along each tiering side 26 square bar-like projections as tiering projection portions 21 alternately arranged in two parallel rows. These projections 21 form a level silhouette on lower tray 10 in FIG. 6 so that, when the upper tray 10 is placed thereon, one can drag the upper tray smoothly across the lower tray, without hang up, and then the upper tray will drop vertically down into the tiering position shown in FIG. 6 and lock in this position in generally the same manner as earlier described for interengagement of projection portions 18 in the receptacle forming position in FIG. 5.

Similar trays in FIGS. 9-17 are held in tiering position by interengagement of their tray tiering support parts 40, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 16. These tiering support parts on each tray 3) include four plates 47, located along the outline of a square, having tiering sides 46 in FIG. 10. Each plate 47, secured to the bottom surface of base part 32, has a hook 47a forming with this bottom surface an opening 47b. These plates 47 are identical to each other and in identical relationship to each edge and corner, are arranged as reverse mirror images to each other, and are 8 arranged'so that the center line of two diagonally opposite hooks 47a lie along an identical radial line R in FIG. l() to the central, vertical pivotal axis X of the containers.

Two similar trays 30, the upper one right side up and the lower one upside down as shown by the top two trays in FIG. 13, are interlocked in tiering position by rotating the upper tray about the vertical axis X in FIG. l0 in substantially the same manner earlier described for interengaging parts 36 by a turning action in FIG. 9. Then, each hook 47a will enter a corresponding opening 47b on the other tray 30 so as to be detachably interlocked in the tiering position. As will be apparent hereinafter, the description, the structure and mode of operation in this paragraph applies equally well to the same named parts, positions, etc. in FIG. 18 for trays 30.

Tray 30 has on tray tiering support parts 40 (in FIGS. 16 and 17) a locking projecting bump or projection portion 47C on one inner face of each hook or projection portion 47a extending into opening or projection receiving portion 47b formed by the hook so that bumps of similar trays are adapted to move past each other, and thus engage as shown in FIG. 16 during this turning action, to maintain trays 30 interlocked in tiering position. Then, the proper twist in the reverse direction must be given to unlock them. Plates 47 can be made of any resilient suitable material, such as spring steel, permitting this interlocking by yielding.

In FIG. 18, trays 30' are interlocked in tiering position by interengagement of tray tiering support parts 40 thereon. Each tray 30 has four plates 47 secured to the bottom thereof in the same arrangement as the four plates 47 in FIG. 10. Each plate 47' forms a hook 47a', and forms an opening 47h with a depression 32a' in the bottom surface of base part 32. Depression 32a is vertically aligned with and at least horizontally coextensive with the portion of opening 47b formed by hook 47a' to form therewith a projection receiving portion. Then, after the aforedescribed twisting motion about vertical axis X has occurred and the upper and lower tray 30 in FIG. 18 are vertically aligned, the upper tray 30' in FIG. 18 can settle vertically downwardly so that each hook or projection portion 47a on each tray 30 will engage into depression or projection receiving portion 32a in the other tray to maintain trays 30 in the tiering position in FIG. 18. This engagement would provide an interlock to resist untwisting about vertical axis X. To disengage the trays 30', upper tray 30 would have to be raised to disengage hooks 47a' from depressions 32a before the untwisting movement about axis X could occur.

In FIGS. 19-21 and 24-26, each tray 50 has four tray tiering support parts 60. Each part 60 includes integrally connected together, and preferably made of resiliently yieldable spring steel, a securement flange 60a secured to the bottom of base part 52, a vertically extending portion 601i, a horizontally extending portion 60e, and a turnedin portion 60d. These four parts 60 are secured to base part 52, as shown by the solid line positions in FIG. 25, so that corresponding portions on all four parts are arranged along parallel lines extending parallel to horizontal direction line D. It should be noted in the solid line positions that the two upper parts 60 in FIG. 25 are displaced slightly to the left of the vertical with respect to the two lower parts in FIG. 25, the upper parts are in horizontal alignment, and the lower parts are in horizontal alignment parallel to line D. Each portion 60d in FIG. 26 has a bump 60a thereon forming a projection portion receivable in channel 60g on a similar tray forming a projection receiving portion.

Now, it should be apparent that if lower receptacle 50 in FIG. 24 is in the solid line position in FIG. 25, the upper receptacle 50 in FIG. 24 may be slid horizontally from the double dot-dash line position in FIG. 25 in direction D to the dot-dash line position, which is the tiering position shown in FIG. 24. This action takes place by relative linear movement in direction D in FIG. 25 between one tray, and a reversed similar tray, in FIG. 24. This action causes the bumps 60e of the upper tray to move past the corresponding bumps on the lower tray in the upper left-hand corner and the upper right-hand corner in FIG. 25 by a snap action while the bumps at the lower left-hand corner and the lower right-hand corner in FIG. 25 on the upper tray approach the corresponding bumps on the lower tray. Then, the upper and lower trays 50 are firmly locked in tiering position. It should be apparent that upper tray 50 may approach the lower tray from the right-hand side in FIG. 25 and can then be moved into locking position by movement in the direction opposite to direction D. Also, it should be apparent that the upper tray may be turned end for end through a 180 degree turn about a vertical axis, and then it can be interlocked with the lower tray, as shown in FIG. 25, by movement in direction D or in the opposite direction. In any situation, bumps 60e will interlock in basically the same manner.

Parts 60 requiring movement in the direction D or in the opposite direction in FIG. 25, would be especially good for rectangular type trays, or trays which always have to have a certain end facing in a given direction, such as shown by the one direction orientation of trays 50 in nesting position in FIG. 19, of trays 50 in receptacle forming position in FIG. 20, and of trays 50 in tiering position in FIG. 23.

It will be apparent hereinafter that the description of the structure and mode of operation in these preceding paragraphs on part 60 applies equally well to the same named part, positions, directions and movements in FIGS. 23 and 27.

Four tray tiering support parts 60 in FIG. 27 are secured to the bottoms of trays 50 in FIG. 23 in identically the same arrangement as previously described for parts 60. Part '60 has integrally formed from a resiliently yieldable material, such as spring steel, a securement flange 60a', vertically extending portion 6%', horizontally extending portion 60C', turned-in portion 60d', channel 60g', and bump 60e. Portion 60d' and bump 60e form a projection portion received Within receiving portion or channel 60g on a similar tray.

The only difference between parts 60 and 60 is that end portions 60f in FIG. 26 extend parallel to the longitudinal lines of part 60 and movement direction line D in FIG. 25, while each part 60 has end portion 60j diverging outwardly to provide a guiding action at opposite ends during relative movement between trays Sil in direction D in FIG. 25, or in the opposite direction, during interlocking in tiering position.

Next will be described the structure required for the movement into the nesting positions in FIGS. 4, 12, 19 and 22.

For proper nesting action, at least some of the corresponding side parts on each receptacle must diverge upwardly away from the base part. For example, side parts 14 and 15 diverge upwardly away from base part 12 in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 so that similar trays 10, correspondingly positioned, may be nested by moving the upper of said trays downwardly into the nesting position of FIG. 4 by approach movement of their base parts 12. It should be apparent that this description and mode of nesting also applies to trays 30 in FIG. 12, trays 50 in FIG. 19, and trays 50 in FIG. 23 because their respective side parts 34 and 35, side parts 54, and side parts 54 and 55 on these respective trays upwardly diverge away from their corresponding base parts. Hence, all of the side parts upwardly diverge in this manner in the tray form shown in FIGS. l-18 and in FIG. 23. In FIGS. 19-22, side part 55 is vertically extending with respect to base part 52, but nesting occurs because side parts 54 upwardly diverge and an open side is opposite each side part 55.

Trays 50 and 50 in FIGS. 19 and 33 are interlockable against substantial horizontal movement in nesting position, as shown in FIG. 19. Since the structure on each tray 50 and 50 is substantially identical, the description will be restricted to tray Si). Projection portions 63c of receptacle forming position support parts 56 and projection receiving portions 63d are constructed to nest and interlock one within the other on similar trays in FIG. 19 because they are arranged in pairs of vertically aligned portions 63c and 63d formed respectively on the tops and bottoms of flanges 63. These portions 63b, 63C and 63d extend along diagonal iiange 63 converging toward base part 52, as shown in FIG. 19.

FIGS. 22 and 23 show two ways of maintaining trays in a vertical stack to prevent tip over. First, in FIG. 19, it will be observed that each upper tray 50 moves forwardly to the left so that the stack, as it gets higher and higher, may become top heavy and fall over. However, by putting the stack in FIG. 19 in a recess 80a in a dolly 8th in FIG. 22, the stack can be made to go straight up although the individual trays 50 would have their base parts 52 slanted with respect to the horizonatl. Second, as to the lower three receptacles 51' in FIG. 23, upward divergence of side parts 55 permits all of the trays Sii in a vertically nested stack to be vertically aligned, instead of being laterally offset, as shown in FIG. 19 because of vertical side parts 55. Third, as to the upper two receptacles S1 in FIG. 23, the vertical alignment of a stack of these tiered receptacles 51', turned upside down one with respect to another, is regained by offsetting center K of the group of tray tiering support parts 60 (which center K is shown by equidistance dimensions G in FIG. 23 from tiering support parts 60') from center I of the horizontal dimension N of the bottom surface of base part 52 to the true center K of the vertical perimeter of a stack or tier of receptacles 51. Respective dimensions E, F and G are used to show the symmetrical arrangement of parts 69 about center line K. Tiering support parts 60' are symmetrically arranged with respect to center K of the overall dimension M of each tray 50 measured horizontally in FIG. 23 and generally parallel to base part 52 and generally parallel to the plane of each diagonal ilange edge 63. Although tiering support parts 60 are engageable by a generally horizontal linear movement along direction D in FIG. 25, it should be readily apparent that tiering support parts 40 in FIG, 13 or 40 in FIG. 18 may be used in place of parts 60 in FIG. 23 with interengagement caused by rotational relative movement between vertically adjacent receptacles 51 in FIG. 23 about vertical center line or axis K in the same manner earlier described for axis X in FIG. 10.

Hence, in FIG. 23 nested trays 50 will stack or tier in vertical alignment without dolly 8l). These receptacles S1 are maintained in vertical alignment (whether turned upside down with respect to each other as shown by the lower three receptacles 51 in FIG. 23 or whether all are right side up as shown by top two receptacles 51' in FIG. 23) as long as receptacles 51 are engaged in always the proper illustrated direction D in FIG. 25, or the reverse of that direction.

Tiering support parts 20 in FIG. 6, parts 40 in FIG. 13, parts 40 in FIG. 18, parts 60 in FIG. 24 and parts 60 in FIG. 27 are in each drawing figure illustrated in one suitable arrangement, but it should be readily apparent that they may vary in number, relative position, or purpose. These tiering support parts are only dependent on their relation to each other and identical positioning on another tray. They would lock together any two tiered trays of any two different sizes as long as the pattern of these parts was identical on the two trays. It would be possible to have the four parts located in the four corners of a single plate, which plate could be attached to any flat surface having similar parts to which one might want to join it. Instead of four tiering support parts on each tray, there might be more than four or less than four. When the trays are relatively rotated into engagement about a common center axis, such as axis X in FIGS. 9

1 1 and 10, it could be possible to have three, or any other suitable number of equally arcuately spaced tiering support parts.

Referring now to the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 28-37 and particularly to FIGS. 28-30, at 100 there is shown a tray having a base 101, upwardly diverging side walls 102, and a marginal lip 103 integral with and surrounding the upper edges of said side walls. The base 101 is square in shape, and the side walls 102 diverge upwardly in a uniform manner whereby the tray is square in any horizontal plane of cross section and whereby the marginal lip 103 is also square.

At each side wall 102, the marginal lip 103 is formed alternately obliquely upwardly and downwardly with respect to the upper edge of its associated side wall in uniform, longitudinally spaced portions. The upwardly angled lip portions are designated 104 and the downwardly angled lip portions are designated 105, and between each adjacent pair of lip portions there is provided a tilted, connecting plane 106. As best shown in FIG. 34, at each corner of the tray 100 there is provided a horizontal, wedge shape portion 107 which is connected to endmost lip portions 104 and 105 of two intersecting side walls 102 by upwardly and downwardly angled connecting planes 108 and 109 respectively. The angled lip portions 104 and 105 are uniformly angled respectively above and below a horizontal plane defined by the upper edges of the side walls 102. The marginal lip 103 is so formed as to provide a lip portion 104 adjacent the righthand end of each side wall and a lip portion 105 adjacent the left-hand end of each side wall as viewed in FIG. 30, all four sides being alike; and the lip adjacent each side wall is provided with a like number of angled lip portions and connecting planes in relatively the same positions as seen in corresponding views of the separate sides of the tray.

As shown in FIG. 29, the base or bottom of the tray 101 is provided with a plurality of downwardly or outwardly projecting, triangular projections 115. The overall pattern of the bottom of the base 101 comprises a division of the bottom surface into sixteen equal, imaginary squares with each triangular projection 115 representing substantially one-half of one of the squares divided on the diagonal. The triangular projections are, therefore, arranged in four horizontal and four vertical rows with each pair of adjacent triangles being rotated 90 degrees relative -to each other in either the vertical or the horizontal direction, The resulting pattern is that shown in FIG. 29 wherein no two triangular projections have sides parallel and adjacent each other.

The bottom pattern as shown in FIGS. 28 and 29 illustrates the triangular projections 115 as being pressed or formed downwardly or outwardly from the bottom of the base 101 by the application of a triangular tool or form to the upper surface of said base. The resulting eect is an embossing of the bottom of the base and a corresponding debossing of the top or inner side of said base. However, as illustrated in FIG. 37, it will be noted that the debossing effect of FIG. 28 may be eliminated, and triangular projections may be simply molded or otherwise attached to the outer side of the base, as shown at 115. This affords a completely smooth inner surface to the base.

As in the irst form of the invention, the embodiment of FIGS. 28-37 comprises a tray which, cooperant with a similar or a like tray, may be placed in receptacle forming position (FIG. 32), nesting position (FIG. 31), or tiering position (FIG. 33). The marginal lip 103, with its angled lip portions, connecting planes, and the like, form the receptacle forming supporting parts whereby one tray may be turned upside down on top of another tray to form a closed receptacle. The lip portions 104 and 105 and the connecting portions 106-109 are so complementarily formed as to enable the lip of one tray to nest or mate with the lip of another tray; the lip portions 104 of one tray nestingly intert the lip portions 105 of the other tray with the connecting planes or portions 106-109 abutting in llatwise engagement. Thus the receptacle formed with two similar or like trays is completely closed.

This nesting or mating characteristic of the lips of two of the trays is equally utilized when the trays themselves are nested in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3l. In other words, the lips are so formed as to have mating engagement whether both trays are in the upright position or one of them is in the inverted position. Also, these lips will mate in the manner described in any position rotated about their vertical centers as long as the side walls of the different trays are aligned. Rotation of one of the trays degrees with respect to the other has no eiect on this mating characteristic.

Any two trays are adapted for tiering whereby the outer surfaces of their respective bases come into flatwise and interlocking engagement with each other in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 33 and 35-37. In such tiering position, the triangular projections of one of the bases 101 tit into triangular areas immediately adjacent triangular projections of the other of said bases.

The trays of FIGS. 28 and 29 are inverted relative to each other whereby the triangular projections 115 which appear as embossments in the bottom view of FIG. 29 appear as triangular recesses 116 in the top plan view of FIG. 28. Noting, therefore, that each recess 116 represents a corresponding projection 115, it will be readily seen that when a tray in the position of FIG. 28 is tiered upon a like or similar tray as shown in FIG. 29, the embossments of each tray will ft into the triangular, debossed areas adjacent the embossments of the other tray. This will be true even through one of the trays be rotated 90 or 180 degrees in either direction. The pattern on the bottom of each tray 100 is invertibly complementary on either side of perpendicular center lines drawn horizontally through the center of the tray parallel with its edges, or diagonally across its corners, whereby when a second tray is inverted relative to a first tray, the triangular projections and recesses of the separate trays become complementary to each other. Two trays thus tiered are positively interlocked against horizontal movement in any horizontal direction while in the tiered position.

As shown in FIG. 36, similar trays 120 having the identical lip and bottom embossment formations of the trays 100 but with shallower side walls 122 may be either tiered or nested with a similar tray 100. Obviously, a similar tray 120 may also be placed in receptacle forming position with a tray 100 to form a closed receptacle. It is also anticipated that a marginal lip 103 may be provided on a plain, flat plate or divider which could be placed on top of any one of the trays to act as a cover or be sandwiched in between any two trays in receptacle forming position to act as a divider.

FIG. 32 illustrates the manner in which the portion of the marginal lip 103 at the upper edge of any one of the side walls 102 acts like a hinge for the purpose of opening a receptacle formed by two trays in receptacle forming position to gain access to the inside of such receptacle. The upper tray 100 is shown in the open position in broken line at 100:1, and a supporting prop or rod 110, also shown in broken line, is provided for holding the receptacle in an open position. This allows access to articles contained or stored within the receptacle without the necessity of completely removing the upper tray. The alternately upwardly and downwardly angled lip portions 104 and 105 serve to interlock the like edges of the two trays in such manner as to prevent lateral movement of the upper tray relative to the lower tray suticient to provide the hingelike action illustrated.

The marginal lip 103 is also adapted for effectively shedding water whereby a receptacle of the type shown in FIG. 32 will keep its contents dry even though exposed

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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/4.24, 206/508
International ClassificationB65D21/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/0234
European ClassificationB65D21/02G