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Publication numberUS3151762 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 6, 1964
Filing dateNov 28, 1961
Priority dateDec 29, 1959
Publication numberUS 3151762 A, US 3151762A, US-A-3151762, US3151762 A, US3151762A
InventorsEugene L Vidal
Original AssigneePhillips Petroleum Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Carrying case
US 3151762 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 6, 1964 E. L. VlDAL 3,151,762

CARRYING CASE Filed Nov. 28, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. EUGENE L. VIDAL his ATTORNEYS Oct. 6, 1964 E. L. VlDAL 3,151,762

CARRYING CASE Filed Nov. 28, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 I VENTO F/G. 2 Eve E -L. v|0

his ATTORNEYS Oct. 6, 1964 E. L. VIDAL 3,151,762

CARRYING CASE Filed Nov. 28, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIGS INVENTOR. EUGENE L. VIDAL his ATTORNEYS Oct. 6, 1964 E. L. VIDAL 3,151,762

CARRYING CASE Filed Nov. 28. 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 7 INVENTOR.

EUGENE L. VIDAL BY FIG? 6 @MW' amflwghghis ATTORNEYS Oct. 6, 1964 E. L. VIDAL CARRYING CASE Filed Nov. 28, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 EUGENE L. VIDAL @ujw,iwy hw his ATTORNEYS posed plastic designs.

United States Patent 3,151,762 CARRYING CASE Eugene L. Vidal, Avon, Com-1., assignor to Phillips Petroleum Company, a corporation of Delaware Filed Nov. 28, 1961, Ser. No. 155,312 22 Claims. {CL 229-21) This in a continuation-in-part of the copending application of Eugene L. Vidal, Serial No. 862,651, filed December 29, 1959.

This invention relates to improvements in lightweight carrying cases, and more particularly, to a novel one piece carrying case of monocoque or hollow shell construction having an open interior free of compartmentforming partitions and to a method of making a case of this type.

The carrying cases used today in handling bottles are heavy cases, usually made of wood, sometimes of metal, which are partitioned to separate the bottles. Although cardboard cartons have been found suitable for packaging canned goods and disposable bottles, such as liquor bottles, they are not sufiiciently durable for repeated use in handling reusable bottles, for example, soft drink and beer bottles on which deposits are paid by the consumer. The carrying cases for these reusable bottles must be sufficiently durable and weatherproof to withstand the usual handling and treatment to which such carrying cases are subjected by the bottling works machinery, in transporting the filled bottles, stacking and storing the carrying cases, both filled and unfilled, and returning the empty bottles.

More recently, lighter plastic carrying cases have been introduced, but they have not proved satisfactory because they lack the necessary lighter weight rigidity and their high material cost prevents them from competing economically with the conventional wooden cases.

The thin-wall monocoque or shell-like construction of the present invention provides a durable carrying case which is light in weight, competitive in price and far more attractive than conventional carrying cases. Also, it is lighter, more rigid and less expensive than recently pro- The one-piece, thin skin monocoque construction imparts considerable rigidity to the case and the open interior free of compartment-forming partitions decreases the weight and expense of the case and at the same time facilitates cleaning the interior of the case. within the hollow interior of the carrying case, an array of upstanding tapered positioners formed integrally with the bottom define article-receiving areas which keep the lower ends of the articles separate; in addition, these tapered positioners serve as guides to insure that the bases of the articles are directed to the article-receiving areas and also that the article stands upright in the case when it is dropped into the case on the oblique or bounced in the case due to rough handling. The top of the carrying case is a cover-like separator having openings therein in alignment with the article-receiving areas below to keep the upper ends of the articles separate and in upright condition within the carrying case. These openings are preferably internally curved or flanged to stiffen the top of the case and guide and position the articles dropped into the openings.

Ancillary features of the carrying case of the present invention, in its preferred form, include registering formations on the case to facilitate stacking when the case is empty, registering formations on the case to facilitate stacking when the case is filled, comfortable gripping slots at both ends of the case, and the upstanding, hollow, crossshaped guides in the bottom of the case which not only define the article-receiving areas, but also prevent the upper ends of the bottles or other articles in the lower case of a 3,151,762 Fatented Get. 6, 1964 stack from entering the openings exposed in the bottom and thereby make the stacking of filled cases more exacting.

The unique carrying case of the present invention is made by blow-molding extruded synthetic plastic material to form a hollow, closed shell of substantially uniform wall thickness and then removing the blank or blanks from the shell to define the necessary opening or openings therein. The hollow molded form preferably incorporates laterally extending closed formations at each end which are easily cut oil to provide gripping slots for the carrying case. The blow-molding method of making the carrying case permits the use of molds of up to one-tenth the cost of molds required for injection molding, and even more important, it makes possible the overall thin wall construction which contributes to the low cost of the carrying case. Incidentally, the molding of the upstanding tapered guides from sheet material without leaving exposed openings in the bottom of the carrying case large enough to receive the upper ends of bottles in a lower case of a stack presented something of a challenge in a blowmolding operation and was solved by the unique configuration of the upstanding guides. The configuration of these guides, therefore, is directly related to the blow-molding operation.

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference can be made to the detailed description which follows and to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan View of the carrying case of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a bottom view of the carrying case;

FIGURE 3 is a side view;

FIGURE 4 is an end view;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 55 of FIGURE 1, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIGURE 6 is a top plan View of the carrying case at an intermediate stage of its manufacture after the molding operation;

FIGURE 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 77 of FIGURE 6, looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIGURE 8 is a cross-sectional view of a plurality of the carrying cases of the present invention shown in stacked relationship.

Referring to FIGURES 1 through 5 of the drawings, the carrying case 16 of the present invention comprises a one-piece shell of molded synthetic plastic material, such as rigid or linear polyethylene, having an open interior free of compartment-forming partitions. The particular carrying case shown and described herein is intended as a carrying case for bottles, although obviously, the carrying case can be used or easily redesigned for many other uses. It can also be made in various sizes and for different numbers of articles.

The shell is of relatively uniform thickness and comprises a bottom 11, upstanding sides 12, and a top 14, all integrally formed to define a unitary molded structure. The lower edge 15 of the case slopes inwardly and the inner surface thereof is shaped to define articleqeceiving areas for the vases of the bottles or other articles to be carried. The sloped inner surface thereof directs the bases of the bottles into the article-receiving areas when they are dropped in the case at an angle from the upright condition or later bounced. The same result can be achieved by sloping the sides of the case inwardly. The article-receiving areas for the bottles across the remainder of the bottom of the shell are defined by a plurality of upstanding tapered guides 16 formed integrally with the bottom and arranged in a predetermined spaced relationship with each other and the inner surface of the sloped wall. More shown in FIGURE 8.

substantially hollow.

the underside of the case should'not be so large as to make specifically, the article-receiving areas remote from the sides 12 are defined by an array of four upstanding tapered guides 16; the article-receiving areas adjacent the sides are defined by two or" the upstanding guides and a recessed portion of the sloped wall 15; the article-receiving areas at the corners of the case are defined by a curved, recessed portion of the sloped wall 15 and the diagonally opposite upstanding tapered guide. 7

1 The top '14 of the carrying case contains a plu rality of article-receiving openings 18 each directly above and in alignment with one of the article-receiving areas defined on the upper surface of the bottom of the carrying case. The top serves as a separator sheet to separate the bottles, or other articles, maintain them in erect or upright positions, and prevent them from toppling over when the case is tilted during handling. The openings 18 in the top are defined by internally extending flanges which stiffen the shell, guide the articles to the article-receiving areas defined on the bottom of the case and maintain the articles in upright positions during handling.

The ends of the case are each provided with gripping slots 19 defined by outwardly extending edges by means of which the carrying case can be more easily handled. The sides of the case directly above the gripping slots are recessed to provide a curved internal surface directly above each gripping slot so that it can be conveniently and comfortably carried from one end.

The carrying case can be filled by machine or by hand by inserting thevases of the bottles through the openings 18 in the top of the carrying case and onto the article-receiving areas defined on the upper surface of the bottom. By providing'a relatively small clearance between the bottle and the fiangedopeninglh in the cover or top of the carrying case, it will be impossible to insert the bottle into the case at such an oblique angle that the base rests on top of one of the tapered guides 16. This, of course, can also be facilitated by making the tapered guides 16 high enough to prevent this. As explained above, the sloped edge '15 also insures that the base of a bottle dropped into the carrying case will be directed to the article-receiving area and that the bottle will stand up-right in the case. This feature of the carrying case is particularly useful and helpful in insuring that the bottles are seated properly in the carrying case when the latter is filled automatically by machinery or bounced in handling.

T he elimination of the compartment-forming partitions of conventional carrying cases helps keep the interior of the case free of debris and facilitates cleaning. To further facilitate cleaning the interior of the carrying cases,

it is provided with a plurality of holes 20 in the bottom wall. The holes 24 are arranged in line with and intermediate the upstanding tapered guides 16. These holes prevent dirt from accumulating within the case and serve as drains for water used to wash the interior of the case or any other liquids, such as rain, which may spill or fall into the case; The drain holes can also be located at the outer periphery of the case.

in order to facilitate stacking of the carrying cases of the resent invention when they are filled, the bottom of the carrying case is raised somewhat at the center of each bottle-receiving area to define recesses 21 in the bottom surface of. the carrying case. Proper alignment of one carrying case with a filled case below it is insured when the person handling the uppercase senses that the tops of the bottle caps of the bottles upstanding from the lower case have been received into the recesses 21 as In lieu of individual recesses, a ridge'or series of ridges can be formed in the underside of the carrying case tolie outside the'upper ends of the.

bottlesof an underneathcase.

From the standpoint of keeping both the cost of material and the weight or" the carrying case to a minimum,

it. is desirable that the upstanding tapered guides 16 be However, the openings exposed in it possible for the upper ends of the bottles of an underneath case to enter and become wedged in these holes because they would be a nuisance in stacking the case on top of another filled case. This presents something of a roblem since it is desirable that the upstanding tapered guides 16 be formed as integral parts of the case and of relatively uniform thin wall construction in the blowmolding operation. Accordingly, the tapered guides are made of crossor star-shaped configuration, and, as best shown in FIGURE 2 of the drawings, the exposed openings 22 in the bottom of the case are of crossor starshaped configuration to prevent the bottle caps of the underneath carrying case from being received therein. Centers of the cross-shaped openings 22 in the bottom of the case are just large enough to receive the relatively small upstanding projections 23 formed on the top surface of the carrying case. The upstanding projections 23, as best shown in FIGURE '8, make it possible for the cases to be stacked securely one above another in alignment when the cases are empty. More specifically, when the upper carrying case is placed in proper registration on top of an empty carrying case, the upstanding projections enter the central portions of the cross-shaped openings and thereby facilitate the registration of the upper case with the empty one below.

It is understood that the upstanding, tapered guides 16 can be made .of other configurations as long as they are tapered at the top, made of hollow thin wa'll construction and are characterized by a non-circular exposed opening in the bottom of the case which, when stacked, will not receive the upper end'o'f a bottle in the case below. It should be mentioned that the diameter of the bases of tie hollow guides is such that if the guides were to be shaped conically the exposed openings in the bottom of the case would be large enough to receive the upper end of a bottle in the case below.

The vases or lower ends of the upstanding guides 16 are preferably substantially vertically disposed so that when the case is carried endwise by one of the handles and the bottles or other articles are substantially horizontally disposed, the bases'of the bottles will be able to rest against the vertical portions of the guides and will not slip out of the article-receiving areas.

In the event that the raised portions 2-1 at the center of the article-receiving areas prevent the base of the 'bottle from resting securely on the bottom of the case the recessed portion 21 can .be provided with three or'more radially extending recesses to provide seats for the outer periphery of the bases of the bottles.

Another possible variation is that portions of the sides can be recessed so as to protect a trademark printed thereon.

The lightweight carrying case of the present invention is an unusually sturdy shell which does not require the reinforcement. of internal partitions. It isattractive, can be molded from colorful plastics, and, except for occasional cleaning which is facilitated by the absence of conventional partitions, requires no maintenance. It has an appreciably longer lifethan the conventional wooden carrying cases now in use. Moreover, it qualifies asa substitute for the thick walled wood box in that it can be mingled with the wood cases on the loading and conveyor beltmachinery in the plant, as well as on pallets, hand trucks and trucks'in'transport. The bottles, when dropped in the case or when bounced in handling, posi:

'tion and seat just as readily as in partitioned cases. Furthermore, the bottles do not slip out when the case is carried almost vertically by one hand.

The carrying case of the present inventionis made by together air or other gaseousfiuid is introduced into the i i In this process a pair 7 tube or between the sheets to bring them into pressure engagement with the contour of the closed mold. Following the molding operation, the molded form is cooled and the mold is opened to permit removal of the hollow, closed shell Blanks 18 (see FIGURE 7) are then cut out or" the top 14 to make the openings 18, blanks 20 are removed from the bottom 11 to make the openings 20, and the closures 19 which extend laterally from both end walls are cut off to define the open gripping slots 19. This extremely simple process is readily adapted to mass production techniques which, of course, is essential to the low cost of the product.

The closed shell Ill can be made so that the top is characterized by one large rectangular blank surrounded by a downwardly extending lip or flange spaced near the sides of the shell. When this large blank is removed, an open-top carrying case remains. In addition, the top of the closed shell can be made with four such rectangular blanks, and upon removal thereof four six-pack cartons can be carried in the case. The inside upper edge-stiffening lip or flange, impractical to form in molding processes other than blow-molding, permits the ends and the sides of the case to have outside flush surfaces which are required if the cases are to be handled by conventional conveyor belts used in the bottling works.

In another form, the carrying case can be of the takehome type with a handle integrally formed on the top of the case extending in an end-to-end direction along the center line of the case.

The invention has been shown in its preferred form and by way of example only, and various modifications and variations may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. The invention, therefore, is not to be limited to any particular form or embodiment, except insofar as such limitations are expressly set forth in the claims.

I claim:

1. A carrying case being of a single continuum of material comprising a one-piece shell molded of synthetic plastic and having an open interior free of compartmentforming partitions, said shell having a bottom, sides and a top, a plurality of article-separating openings in the top of the shell, and a plurality of internal formations upstanding from the bottom of the case for keeping the bases of the articles separated and in upright condition.

2. A carrying case as set forth in claim 1 including means defining a plurality of recesses in the bottom of the carrying case directly below the center of each articlereceiving area to receive the upper ends of the articles upstanding from the carrying case below and permit proper registration of the carrying case on top of another filled case.

3. A carrying case as set forth in claim 2 including at least one radial extension of each of said recesses adapted to provide a seat for the outer periphery of the base of an article positioned in said article receiving area.

4. A carrying case as set forth in claim 1 in which the said upstanding internal formations are tapered at the top to guide the base of an article dropped into the case to the article-receiving area below and substantially vertically disposed at their bases to retain the base of the article in the article-receiving area when the case is carried vertically.

5. A carrying case comprising a hollow shell of relatively thin wall, plastic construction and having a hollow interior free of compartment-forming partitions comprising a bottom, sides and a top integrally formed to define a unitary structure, a plurality of spatially separated hollow internal guides of cross-shaped configuration upstanding from and integrally formed with the bottom which define article-receiv ng areas, said guides having tapered upper ends which help guide the bases of the articles into the article-receiving areas, the spatially separated relationship of the upstanding guides establishing open communication between the article-receiving areas, and means defining openings in the top in alignment with the article-receiving areas.

6. A carrying case as set forth in claim 5 in which the openings in the top are defined by internal flanges which stiffen the top and guide the articles into the articlereceiving areas.

7. A carrying case as set forth in claim 5 in which the internal guides are tapered at the top and vertically disposed at their bases, the latter to retain the base of an article in the article-receiving area when the case is carried vertically, said guides being oriented so that the arms of each cross extend toward the center of the adjacent article receiving area.

8. A carrying case for bottles comprising a one-piece lightweight shell of relatively uniform Wall thickness and made of blow-molded synthetic plastic material, said shell having a top, bottom and sides which define an open interior free of compartment-forming partitions, a plurality of spatially separated hollow internal guides of cross-shaped configuration upstanding from and integrally formed with the bottom which define article-receiving areas, said guides having tapered upper ends which help guide the bases of the articles into the article-receiving areas, the spatially separated relationship of the upstanding guides establishing open communication between the articlereceiving areas, and means defining openings in the top in alignment with the article-receiving areas.

9. A carrying case for bottles comprising a one-piece, lightweight shell of relatively uniform wall thickness and made of blow-molded synthetic plastic material comprising a bottom, upstanding sides and a top cooperating to define an open interior free of compartment-forming partitions, an array of upstanding hollow tapered guides of cross-shaped configuration formed integrally on the bottom wall of the carrying case and cooperating with each other to define a plurality of bottle-receiving areas within the carrying case, the lower edges of the case being defined by a tapered wall shaped to form a plurality of recessed formations which cooperate with the upstanding tapered guides to define bottle-receiving areas at the outer periphery of the interior of the shell at the base and to guide the bottoms of the bottles inserted in the ease to the bottle-receiving areas, said upstanding tapered guides being spatially separated so as to afford open communication between the bottle-receiving areas, registering means integrally formed on the bottom of the carrying case to permit the carrying case to be registered with the bottle caps of the bottles in a carrying case below to facilitate stacking of the carrying case on top of a filled carrying case, and cooperating registering means integrally formed on the top of the carrying case and the bottom thereof to facilitate stacking of empty carrying cases one above the other.

10. A carrying case being of a single continuum of material comprising a one-piece shell, said shell having a bottom wall, side walls and a top Wall, a plurality of article-separating openings in the top wall and a plurality of tapered guides upstanding from the bottom walls to define a plurality of article-receiving areas and to guide the base of an article inserted in an opening in the top Wall to the appropriate article-receiving area.

11. A carrying case for bottles comprising a one-piece, lightweight shell of relatively uniform wall thickness and made of blow-molded, synthetic plastic material, said shell having a top, bottom and sides which define an open interior free of compartment-forming partitions, a plurality of spatially separated hollow internal guides upstanding from and integrally formed with the bottom of the case to define bottle-receiving areas, said upstanding guides being of substantially uniform wall thickness and shaped so as to leave exposed a restricted opening in the bottom of the case communicating with the hollow interior of said guides, said guides having tapered upper ends which help guide the bases of the bottle'into the bottle-receiving areas, the spatially separated relationship of the upstanding guide establishing open communication between the bottle-receiving areas, the widths of the bases of said upstanding guides being larger in diameter than :the upper ends of the bottles to be carried in the case, but the configuration. of the hollow guides being such as to prevent the upper ends of a bottle to be received in the exposed opening in the bottom of the case.

12. A carrying case being of a single continuum of material comprising a one-piece molded shell having an upper surface provided with an aperture adapted to pass an article, sides, and a lower surface have spatially separated, non-partition forming positioning means formed integrally with said lower surface and adapted to peripte erally engage and position an article.

13. A hollow, molded-in-one-piece container being of a single continuum of material and suitable for carrying bottles and the like, said container having a top wall and a bottom wall, a continuous sidewall connecting said top and said bottom walls, a plurality of bottle receiving apertures in said top wall, and a plurality of spatially separated non-partitioirforming, posilioningmeans which are integrally formed in said bottom wall and adapted to peripherally engage a bottle.

14. The container of claim 13 wherein the said positioning means are arranged in at least one set, each of said positioning means having a tapered upper end and each 'setof positioning :means being located with respect to 'and cooperating with an aperture so as to receive and finally position said initially positioned bottle in said case.

15. A'carrying case being of a single continuum of material comprising a molded shell having an upper surface provided with at least one aperture adapted to pass at least one article, said aperture being defined by a downwardly extending lip or flange, sides, and a lower surface provided with at least one integrally formed nonpartition' forming position means adapted to position said article.

' at least one article, said aperture having an edge-stiffening lip or flange, said shell also having a lower surface and a side wall extending completely around the carrying case, the sidewall connecting the lower surface and the upper surface of said shell, said carrying case having at least one element adapted to be held when carrying said case. a

17. A carrying case being of a single'continuum of material comprising a one-piece'blow molded shell having an upper surface provided with at least one aperture adapted to pass at least'one article, said aperture being formed by an edge-stiffening flange extending inwardly from the side walls thereof, said shell also having a lower surface and a sidewall extending completely around the said carrying case, the side wall connecting the lower surface and the upper surface of said shell, said carrying 1 case having at least one element adapted to be held when carrying said'c'ase'.

fture adapted to pass an article and a lower surface provided with integrally-formed positioning means adapted to engage the periphery of and to position an article, said positioning means being, located inside said shell, said lower surface'also being provided with at least one article top engaging means integrally formed in the underside of the said lower surface, saidengaging means being positioned to lie outside the upper-tend of an article of an underneath case when filled cases are in stacked relationship.

19. A closed shell being of a single continuum of material adapted to be converted into a carrying case comprising a one-piece molded plastic structure having a top, a bottom, a pair of side walls and a pair of end walls, said top, bottom, side walls, and end walls being integrally formed, said end walls having laterally extending closed formations ofelongated cross-section, and said top being characterized by at least one depressed area defining a blank, said blank being surrounded by an inwardly extending lip or flange, said blank being adapted to be cut out to convert said shell to a carrying case.

20. A carrying case being of a single continuum of material comprising a one-piece shell molded-of synthetic plastic and having an open interior free of compartmentforming partitions, said shell having a bottom, sides and a top, a plurality of article-separating openings in the top of the shell, and a plurality of spatially-separated integrally-formed positioning means in the bottom of the case for keeping the bases of the articles separated and in upright condition. 7

21. A carrying case comprising:

(a) a one-piece shell molded of synthetic plastic and having an open interior free of compartment-forming partitions,

(b) said shell having a bottom, sides and a top,

( a plurality of article-separating openings in the top of said shell, and

(d) a plurality of tapered internal formations upstanding from the bottom of said case for keeping the bases of the articles separated and in upright condition and for guiding the base of an article dropped into the case'to an article receiving area,isaid internal formations being at least partly hollow and including means defining restricted openings in the bottom of said case and communicating withthe interior of said internal formations, said restricted openings preventing the upper ends of articles in a--case below from being received within the said restricted openmgs.

22. A carrying case as set'forth in claim 21 in which the said opening is cross-shaped.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,410,251 Taurrnan Oct. 29, 1946 2,619,251 Schmidt Nov. 25, 1952 2,626,079 Keller Jan. 20, 1953 2,656,947 Steveson Oct. 27, 1953 2,758,742 Farrell Aug; 14, 1956 2,840,256 Cobb June 24, 1958 2,841,826 Brucker July'S, 1958 7 2,945,262 Petty "July 19 .1960

' v FOREIGN PATENTS 1 r 626,677 Great Britain July 19, 1949

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