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Publication numberUS3209711 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 5, 1965
Filing dateApr 18, 1963
Priority dateApr 18, 1963
Publication numberUS 3209711 A, US 3209711A, US-A-3209711, US3209711 A, US3209711A
InventorsPope Edker
Original AssigneePope Edker
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tray rack
US 3209711 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 5, 1965 E. POPE TRAY RACK Filed April 18, 1965 INVENTOR. EDKER POPE FIG. 3

United States Patent 3,209,711 TRAY RACK Edker Pope, 1580 E. Industrial St., Costa Mesa, Calif. Filed Apr. 18, 1963, Ser. No. 273,932 1 Claim. (61. 108-152) This invention relates to a tray rack having means for supporting a tray or trays in horizontal planes at the sides thereof.

There are several standard types of tray racks in use throughout the food handling and processing industry. One such rack is referred to as a portable table top rack, and involves generally, an open substantially cubical frame having four vertical corner posts, a flat horizontally disposed rectangular table top at the top of the frame, a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of laterally spaced tray-supporting rails within the frame, below the table top, and caster wheels at the lower ends of the posts.

The table top is provided as a working surface on which foodstuffs carried by the trays supported in the rack can be engaged and worked upon.

Due to the fact that the trays of food must be removed from the rack in order to transfer the food thereon to and from the table top, other means, such as a shelf or table must be provided in close proximity to the rack and upon which the trays can be set.

In an effort to avoid the necessity of providing a separate tray support for use in connection with portable table top tray racks, the prior art has provided such racks with drop leaf type tray supports at the sides thereof. While such supports do serve to support the trays related thereto at the sides of the rack and adjacent the table top, they are undesirable as they tend to collapse and fail, are costly to manufacture, require separate moving parts which must be manually manipulated and further, they establish obstructions which interfere with free movement of the rack.

The trays used in connection with such racks have become standardized and are characterized by flat horizontally disposed rectangular bottom walls, upwardly and outwardly inclined marginal flanges about the perimeter of the bottom walls and outwardly and downwardly turned lips about the upper edges of the flanges, or about the rims of the trays.

An object of my invention is to provide a rack of the general character referred to having novel means for engaging and supporting trays to project from the sides thereof in a horizontal plane.

It is an object of this invention to provide tray-support ing means of the character referred to which involves no moving parts or parts which project from the rack in a manner that would present an obstruction or obstacle during normal use of the rack.

A further object of this invention is to prOVide a tray supporting means of the character referred to which is rugged, durable and dependable, and a means with which a standard tray can be easily and conveniently engaged without the exercise of any special skill or the operation of any mechanical devices.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a tray-supporting means of the character referred to having a portion to engage and support the bottom of a tray, adjacent one side of the tray and a portion to establish hooked engagement with the rim of the tray adjacent the said one side of the tray and to thereby prevent downward pivoting and tipping of the other side of the tray and lateral shifting of the tray relative by bottom engaging support.

It is an object of this invention to provide means of the character referred to wherein the said means extends longitudinally along one side of the rack with which it is related and establishes supporting engagement with a tray substantially co-extensive with one side thereof.

Another object of this invention is to provide a means of the character referred to wherein the portion establishing hook engagement with the rim of a tray is provided with means at the ends thereof to establish stops to engage the tray and prevent the tray from shifting longitudinally relative to the said means.

The various objects and features of my invention will be fully understood from the following detailed description of typical preferred forms and applications of my invention throughout which description reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable table top tray rack having the tray-supporting means provided by the present invention incorporated therein and showing standard trays related thereto;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken as indicated by line 2-2 on FIGURE 1;

FIG. 3 is a view taken as indicated by line 33 on FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a portion of a modified form of my invention.

The present invention relates to a novel portable top tray rack construction with which trays can be easily and conveniently arranged to project laterally from the sides of the rack, in a common plane with the table top thereof.

The ordinary table top tray rack T, such as is illustrated in the drawings, includes generally, an open substantially cubical frame having four vertical corner posts 10, a plurality or series of elongate horizontally disposed, vertically spaced tray-engaging rails 11 fixed to and extending between two adjacent corner posts, and to occur at one side of the rack, a like series of tray-engaging rails 11' related in like manner to the other two corner posts to occur at the opposite side of the rack, upper and lower spreaders 12 and 13 fixed to and extending between the upper and lower ends of the corner posts at the ends of the rack, that is, sides of the rack intermediate the said one and opposite sides of the rack, supporting caster wheels W at the lower ends of the corner posts and a flat horizontally disposed, table top T fixed to and overlying the top of the rack.

The rails 11 and 11' are shown as L-shaped members integrally joined with the corner posts related thereto and as having flat horizontally disposed laterally inwardly projecting tray-supporting flanges 14, which flanges are adapted to slidably engage the under side of a lip or bead about the rim or marginal flange of a standard food tray F, and flat vertically disposed upwardly projecting outer or reinforcing flanges 15.

The corner posts 10 of the rack are in the nature of vertically disposed channel sections and project laterally outwardly from the plane in which the support flanges 15 of the rails occur. The corner posts 10 are provided with flat upwardly disposed upper ends which serve as supporting shoulders for elements of a novel tray supporting means M, as will hereinafter be described.

The ordinary conventional or standard food tray F, such as illustrated in the drawings, is a flat rectangular shaped metal unit having straight parallel sides and ends, upwardly projecting and outwardly inclined marginal flange and an outwardly and downwardly turned lip about the upper edge of the flange 16 forming a round or convex rim 17 about the tray.

The flange 16 and rounded rim 17 about the tray F provides the tray with suflicient rigidity that it will not bend or flex when engaged and supported at or along one side thereof.

In practice, the rim 17 is frequently in the nature of a tightly rolled bead. Further, the angle of inclination of the flange 16 is frequently varied, although its vertical extent remains constant.

The above-mentioned variations are such that they do not in any way adversely affect the novelty of the present invention.

The table top T is a flat rectangular laminated board and is provided along its two opposite side edges with angle sections S to facilitate securing the top to the frame. The sections F have laterally inwardly projecting bottom flanges 20, which flanges engage the bottom surface of the board or top, and have upwardly projecting outer flanges 21, which flanges engage the inner surfaces of spreaders 22 extending between the upper ends of each pair of corner posts related to each other by the series of tray-supporting rails 11 and 11. In practice the spreaders 22 can be identical to the rails 11 and 11', or can, as illustrated in the drawings, be simple flat weblike portions established from the same sheet of stock from which the rails and their related corner posts are established.

The flanges 20 are secured to the bottom of the table top by suitable screw fasteners 23 and the flanges 21 are secured to their related spreaders or webs 22 by suitable bolt and nut assemblies 24.

The food tray construction F described above is typical or conventional. The food tray rack construction described in the foregoing is a typical and substantially conventional construction.

The present invention provides in addition to the foregoing, elongate, horizontally disposed tray-supporting means M extending along the upper edges of the said one and opposite sides of the tray rack, which means are adapted to cooperatively engage the side edges of food trays F and support them in horizontal planes so that they project freely, laterally outwardly, from the rack.

The means M at each side of the rack include elongate L-shaped sections, co-extensive with the adjacent side edges of the rack and have upwardly projecting inner flanges with outwardly and downwardly turned rimengaging lips 31 along the upper edges thereof, flat, horizontal laterally-outwardly projecting bottom flanges 32 with upwardly projecting webs 33 along the outer edges thereof and flat horizontal, laterally inwardly turned tray bottom engaging pads 34 along the upper edges of the webs.

The laterally inwardly disposed surfaces of the inner flanges 30 establishes flat engagement on the outwardly disposed surfaces of the spreaders or webs 22 of the rack and are held in tight clamped engagement thereon by the nut and bolt assemblies 24, which, as noted above, serve to secure the flanges 21 of the sections S to the said spreaders.

The end portions of the bottom flanges 32 rest upon and find support on the top or upper ends of the corner posts 10 related thereto, as clearly illustrated in the drawings.

The vertical distance between the lower surfaces of the rim-engaging lips 31 and the top surfaces of the pan bottom engaging pads 34 is equal to the vertical extent or distance between the bottom surfaces of the pans and the tops of the rims on the pans.

The pads 34 are spaced a substantial distance laterally outwardly from the lips 31 and serve to establish flat bearing and supporting engagement on the bottoms of the trays F related thereto, along lines spaced from the portion of the tray rims engaged by the lips 31.

In practice, the edge portion of the tray to be engaged with each of the means M is seated on the pad 34 related thereto, tipped downwardly and then slid downwardly inwardly so that the rim along said side portion occurs below the related lip 31. The outer or remote portion of the tray is then lowered so that the tray pivots on the pad and the rim 17 shifts upwardly into engagement with the bottom surface of the lip 31 and so that the lip establishes hook engagement therewith and prevents 4. lateral outward shifting of the tray relative to the rack and stops the tray in a horizontal plane.

By positioning the pads 34, which are of limited lateral extent on the tops of the webs 33 and in spaced relationship above the bottom flanges 32, the angle at which the trays F must be tipped to allow for engagement of the rims 17 below the lips 31 is materially reduced from a situation Where it might be sought to allow the bottoms of the trays to rest upon the bottom flanges 32, since the edges of the trays being engaged with the means M can extend or project laterally inwardly and downwardly below the horizontal planes of the pads 34.

The above relationship of parts makes it possible to engage a tray laden with food stuffs with the means M on the rack without tipping it to such an extent as would result in spilling the food.

In the case illustrated in the drawings, the outer flanges 21 of the mounting sections S on the table top are provided with laterally outwardly offset upwardly projecting extensions 50 with laterally outwardly and downwardly turned reinforcing lips 51 to establish mating engagement with the upper portions of the inner flanges and the lips 31 of the means M.

The extensions 50 and lips 51 suitably reinforce the lips 31 and prevent them from being bent upwardly when engaged by heavily ladened trays.

In practice, the lips 31 of the means M are slightly less in longitudinal extent than the sides of the tray related thereto and so that the portions of the tray flanges and rims, extending laterally outwardly and at right angles to the said sides of the trays do not interfere with and engage the lips 31 in such a manner as to prevent them from establishing hooked engagement with the portions of the rims extending parallel and adjacent to them.

In the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the lip 31 is longer than the adjacent side of the tray F related to it and has its end portions 55 formed to project laterally outwardly in a horizontal plane rather than outwardly and then downwardly and so that the laterally outwardly projecting portions of the flange and rim on the tray will not interfere with the downwardly turned portions of the lip 31 and prevent it from establishing hook engagement with the portion of the rim adjacent to it. The end portions 55 cooperate with the remainder of the lip to define longitudinally outwardly disposed tray flange engaging stop shoulders 56.

It will be noted that the ends of the lips or the downwardly turned portions of the lips engage the inner opposed sides of the outwardly extending portions of the flanges on the trays related thereto and stop or prevent the trays from being accidently shifted longitudinally of the means M.

From the foregoing, it will be apparent that I have invented a new, highly effective and dependable tray rack construction wherein trays can be easily and conveniently arranged and supported at the sides of the rack, without the provision and necessary manipulation of levers, pivoted supports or other mechanical elements.

It will be further apparent that the means M that I provide a easy and economical to manufacture, is neat and attractive and in addition to providing a support for a tray, also serves to stiffen and reinforce the tray rack construction.

Having described only typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, I do not wish to be limited or restricted to the specific details herein set forth, but wish to reserve to myself any modifications or variations that may appear to those skilled in the art and fall within the scope of the following claim:

Having described by invention, I claim:

A tray rack including an open frame with four vertically disposed corner posts, a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of laterally spaced tray supporting rails in the frame, spreaders fixed to and extending between the corner posts at the upper and lower ends thereof a rectangular table top, mounting means fixing the table top to the frame to occur at and overlie the top thereof and like tray supporting means extending longitudinally along two opposite sides of the frame adjacent the sides of the table top to engage trays having flat bottoms and upwardly projecting flanges about their perimeters and to support said trays in horizontal planes at the sides of the rack, said means including, an elongate horizontally disposed section having a flat vertical disposed inner flange, a flat horizontally disposed bottom flange, an outwardly and downwardly turned tray flange engaging lip on the upper edge of the inner flange, an upwardly projecting web on the outer edge of the bottom flange, and a flat horizontally disposed tray bottom engaging pad carried by the web on a plane spaced above the bottom flange and spaced outward of the inner flange and the lip, said pad adapted to engage and support the bottom surface of a tray along a line spaced inwardly from one side of the tray, the said lip establishing hook engagement with the upper edge of the flange of the tray along the said one side of the tray, said inner flanges being fixed to the spreaders extending between the upper ends of the corner posts and along said opposite sides of the frame, said mounting means including angle sections extending longitudinally of the said opposite sides of the rack and having bottom flanges engaging and supporting the table top, and outer flanges occuring adjacent and fixed to the spreaders at the said opposite sides of the frame, the ends of the lips having upturned portions to accommodate adjacent outwardly extending portions of the tray flange and establishing longitudinally outwardly disposed stop shoulders to engage the said adjacent portions of the tray flange and prevent longitudinal shifting of the tray relative to the said support means.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 750,595 1/04 Campbell 248250 1,111,151 9/14 Heartman 108-48 2,584,006 1/52 Finger 108l52 2,727,754 12/55 Webb 211-426 2,959,298 11/60 Pope 211126 3,028,975 4/62 Bullock 21 1126 FOREIGN PATENTS 823,984 11/59 Great Britain.

241,481 10/46 Switzerland.

FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3437214 *Aug 1, 1967Apr 8, 1969Sainsbury & Parkinson LtdShelves
US3472392 *Oct 4, 1967Oct 14, 1969Arthur HahnMobile food service wagon
US3610429 *Jul 15, 1969Oct 5, 1971Lincoln Mfg CoArrangements for slidably supporting panlike or traylike articles
US3908831 *Aug 7, 1972Sep 30, 1975American Sterilizer CoModular storage system
US4385565 *May 5, 1980May 31, 1983Roberts Hubert PShelf support
US6663202 *Jan 25, 2001Dec 16, 2003Promedica, Inc.Transportable medical cart and methods of assembly and use thereof
US6863003 *Feb 5, 2003Mar 8, 2005Allan GraingerPallet system
US20100200716 *Feb 9, 2009Aug 12, 2010International Business Machines CorporationModular rack for electronic systems
U.S. Classification108/152, 211/126.15
International ClassificationA47B31/00, A47B88/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47B88/12, A47B2031/005, A47B2031/003, A47B31/00
European ClassificationA47B88/12, A47B31/00