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Publication numberUS3270939 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 6, 1966
Filing dateFeb 5, 1964
Priority dateFeb 5, 1964
Publication numberUS 3270939 A, US 3270939A, US-A-3270939, US3270939 A, US3270939A
InventorsDavid P Ebelhardt
Original AssigneeMead Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Contoured container
US 3270939 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

p 1965 D. P. EBELHARDT CONTOURED CONTAINER 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 5, 1964 FIG. Ia

FIG. I

n Y m .I u m A R Wm m P E F D m B D A 8 W mm 9 Q I/ N l. 1 n m M J l ll m 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 S p 1966 D. P. EBELHARDT CONTOURED CONTAINER Filed Feb. 5, 1964 w w 2 g United States Patent F 3,270,939 CONTOURED CONTAINER David P. Ebelhardt, Atlanta, Ga., assignor to The Mead Corporation, a corporation of Ohio Filed Feb. 5, 1964, Ser. No. 342,705 7 Claims. (Cl. 229-16) This invention relates to contoured containers and more particularly to special containers which are adapted for packaging small quantities of consumer items such as bananas and which utilize contoured panels conforming generally to the exterior shape of the packaged items and which in addition are interrelated so as to aiford substantial mechanical strength.

The current trend toward packaging fruit and produce in consumer size packages for display in retail markets has not yet met with substantial success with respect to items of produce and fruit which characteristically have contoured exterior surfaces, such for example as bananas, summer squash and the like. A principal difficulty has centered around the fact that attractive, secure and sturdy packages have been dilficult to provide at a reasonable cost, especially where the container is required to provide substantial protection for the packaged item against shock and jostling during shipment and handling.

A principal object of this invention is to provide an improved contoured container which provides substan tial mechanical strength and wherein the contoured panels interact with each other in such a way as to conform substantially to the contours of the packaged items while simultaneously providing substantial mechanical strength.

Another object of the invention is to provide a contoured container wherein the side walls may be arranged with respect to the main bottom panel of the carrier so as to provide a recessed bottom for the container and thereby to afford a cushioned support for the packaged items which is preferable to the hard firm support of a solid surface.

Another object of the invention is to provide a container for consumer type items which lends itself to use with an overwrap of translucent packaging material and which also is adaptable for use without an overwrap if desired for example in instances where aeration of the packaged products is important.

In one form the invention as applied to a container of the folding box type comprises a main bottom of bendable material, a pair of side panels of bendable material disposed in generally normal relation to the main panel along the side edges thereof, a pair of end panels adjoined respectively to the ends of the side panels but not directly connected to the main panel, elevator panels foldably interconnected between the side panels and the main panel and specially configured so as to impart a degree of curvature to the main panel which is normal to the plane of the main panel. The configuration of the fold lines between the main panel and the elevator panels form edges against which the side panels conform due to the holding action of the end panels. According to one modification of the invention, the main panel may be recessed inwardly from the bottom edges of the side panels. Furthermore, if desired a strap may be utilized which is constructed so that its effective length is adjustable and which is fastened along the side edges of the main panel and which extends above the packaged items, the effect of the strap being to secure the packaged items within the contoured tray-like container.

For a better understanding of the invention, reference may be had to the following detailed descni-ption taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a contoured container constructed according to the invention; FIG. 1a is a cross Patented Sept. 6, 1966 ice sectional view taken along the line designated la-1a in FIG. 1; FIG. 2 is a plan view of the blank used to form the container depicted in FIG. 1; FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 represent three folding operations through which the blank of FIG. 2 is manipulated in order to produce a collapsed container as depicted in FIG. 5 and as depicted in setup form in FIG. 1; FIG. 6 is a plan view of a strap which is shown in FIG. 1 as applied to the setup container; and in which FIGS. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 represent a modification of the invention depicted in FIGS. 1-5 and which views correspond respective-1y to FIGS. 1-5.

With reference to FIG. 1, the tray portion of the container is generally designated by the numeral 1 and the strap or handle portion is designated by the numeral 2. The blank depicted in FIG. 2 of course is utilized to form the tray portion 1. In FIG. 2 the main panel is designated by the numeral 3 and is provided with a medial fold line 4 and with contoured side edges 5 and 6. Foldably joined to the side edges 5 and 6 of the main panel 3 are a pair of elevator panels 7 and 8. Thus, it is apparent that the main panel 3 and the elevator panels 7 and 8 together form a quadrilateral panel. Bracing panels 9 and 10 are foldably joined respectively to the end edges 11 and 12 of elevator panel 7. Similarly, bracing panels 13 and 14 are foldably joined to the end edges 15 and 16 respectively of elevator panel 8.

Side panel 17 is foldably joined along fold line 18 to the elevator panel 7 and at its ends to the bracing panels 9 and 10. Foldably joined to one end of side panel 17 along fold line 11 is an end panel 19 while a similar end panel 20 is foldably joined to the other end of the side panel 17 along fold line 12.

Side panel 21 is foldably joined to the elevator panel 8 and to the bracing panels 13 and 14 along fold line 22. End panel 23 is foldably joined to one end of side panel 21 along fold line 15 while a similar end panel 24 is foldably joined to the other end of side panel 21 along the fold line 16.

From the description thus far, it will be observed that term end panel is utilized to designate the end panels 19 and 20 and also to designate the end panels 23 and 24. While the terminology used in connection with these end panels is the same, it will be observed that the end panels 23 and 24 are substantially larger than the end panels 19 and 20. For example, end panel 23 is provided with a medial fold line 25 while end panel 24 is provided with a medial fold line 26. In addition, end panels 23 and 24 are provided respectively with end tabs 27 and 28 which are foldably joined to the main body of the panels 23 and 24 along fold lines 29 and 30.

From FIG. 2 and from the description thus far, it will be understood that the end panel 19 is foldably joined to the adjacent edge of bracing panel 9 along the fold line 18. Similarly, end panel 20 and bracing panel 10 are foldably joined along the fold line 18. In like fashion, bracing panel 13 is foldably joined along fold line 22 to the adjacent edge of end panel 23 while bracing panel 14 is foldably joined along line 22 to the adjacent edge of end panel 24.

In order to produce a collapsed container as depicted in FIG. 5 from the blank shown in FIG. 2, the blank is manipulated as depicted in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. For example the blank of FIG. 2 is folded into the condition depicted in FIG. 3 by simply folding the side panel 21 up and over along fold line 22 into flat face contacting relation to the main panel 3 and the elevator panel 8. Of course such a folding operation swings the end panel 23 into flat face contacting relation with the bracing panel 13 and also causes the end panel 24 toswing over into face contacting relation with the bracing panel 14. In addition, the side panel 17 is swung up and over along fold line 18 into flat face contacting relation with the main panel 3 and the elevator panel 7. Of course this folding operation causes the end panel 20 to swing over the bracing panel 10 and also causes the end panel 19 to swing over the bracing panel 9. The blank then appears as depicted in FIG. 3.

In order to proceed to the stage depicted in FIG. 4 from that depicted in FIG. 3, the structure of FIG. 3 is simply folded along the medial fold line 4 so that the left side of the main panel 3, the elevator panel 8 and the side panel 21 and associated parts are simply swung underneath the right side of the main panel 3, the side panel 17, the elevator panel 8 and associated parts. When thus folded the structure appears as depicted in FIG. 4. Thereafter, glue is applied to the end panels 27 and 28 as indicated by stippling in FIG. 4.

In order to complete the final folding operation, the panel 28 and one side of the end panel 24 is swung along the medial fold line 26 so that the end tab 28 is afiixed to the end of side wall 17. Similarly, the end tab 27 is folded over and secured to the other end of side wall 17, the folding of end tab 27 being along the fold line 25. The completed carton in collapsed form is thus depicted in FIG. 5.

In order to set up the carton as depicted in FIG. 5, it is simply necessary to pull the side walls 17 and 21 in opposite directions away from each other and simultaneously to press inwardly on the main panel 3 at or near the medial fold line 4. This action forces the carton to assume the setup condition depicted in FIG. 1.

From the above description, it will be apparent that the fold lines 5 and 6 between the side edges of the main panel 3 and the elevator panels 7 and 8 determine the degree of curvature of the main panel 3 which in the form shown is in an upward direction at the ends thereof. Furthermore, these same fold lines 5 and 6 determine the contour of the side walls 17 and 21 when the carton is assembled, it being apparent that the end walls hold the side walls 17 and 21 in flat face contacting relation with the elevator panels 7 and 8 and with the side panels and elevator panels disposed in generally normal relationship to the plane of the main panel 3. Furthermore, when the carrier is assembled it will be apparent that the bracing panels 9 and 10 are folded into flat face contacting relation with the end panels 19 and 20, this fold being along the fold line 18. Similarly, bracing panels 13 and 14 are disposed in flat face contacting relation with the end panels 23 and 24, the relationship between these panels being defined by the fold-line 22.

Furthermore, when the carton is set up as depicted in FIG. 1, the bracing panel '9 and the end panel 19 lie flat against the portion of end panel 23 which is adjacent the fold line 29. Likewise, bracing panel 10 and end panel 20 are held in parallel relation to the portion of end panel 24 which is adjacent the fold line 30. Of course, since the end tabs 27 and 28 are adjoined by glue or otherwise to the ends of side panel 17, it will be understood that the end tabs 27 and 28 are disposed in substantially perpendicular relationship to the main body of end panels 23 and 24 as best shown in FIG. 1.

The bracing panels 13 and 14, like the panels 9 and 10, are disposed in fiat face contacting relation to the end panels 23 and 24, respectively. Furthermore, the bracing panels 13 and 14 and the end panels 23 and 24 are disposed in generally normal relation to side panel 21 and to main panel 3. Thus, the bracing panels 9 and 13 together with the end panels 19 and 23 form a sturdy support for the end portions of the elevator panels 7 and 8. In similar fashion, the bracing panels 10 and 14 in cooperation with the end panels 20 and 24 afford sturdy support for the other ends of elevator panels 7 and 8.

While the bracing panels 9, 10, 13 and 14 are desirable for many applications of the invention, it will be understood that for certain uses of the invention they may be omitted.

The fact that the fold lines 5 and 6 are spaced from the fold lines 18 and 22 results in a container in which the bottom or main panel 3 is recessed inwardly so that the weight of the container and its contents is normally taken along the fold lines 18 and 22 which are the bottom edges of the side panels 17 and 21. By this structure the main or bottom panel 3 is spaced inwardly and hence alfords a cushioning support for the contents of the container in accordance with one feature of the invention. The container is adapted for stacking one on top of another. The recessed bottom as just described affords air space which when a number of containers are stacked affords a definite air cushion and thus added protection for the container contents.

The strap of FIG. 6 is mounted on the structure depicted in FIG. 1 by simply slipping the opposite ends 31 and 32 of the strap 2 through the slits 22a and 18a formed along the fold lines 22 and 18, respectively, and then folding these ends under panel 3. When thus inserted the tab 33 engages the edge of one of the slots such for example as 22a while one of a plurality of tabs 34 formed on the other end of the strap 2 engages an edge of the other of the slits, such for example as 18a. Since a plurality of tabs 34 are provided at one end of strap 2, the effective lengthof the strip 2 may be adjusted so as to accommodate the particular size of the packaged items. Of course the container 1 may be used without the strap 2 if desired.

In order to render the strap 2 pliable along its edges, a plurality of scallops 35 are formed along one edge of strap 2 while similar scallops 36 are formed along the other edge. These scallops, as will be understood, are separated from each other by slits such as are depicted at 37 and 38 and are fastened to the main body of the tab along weakened fold lines such as are indicated at 39 and 40.

The modification of the invention as depicted in FIGS. 7-11, inclusive, is similar to the arrangement described above, in connection with FIGS. 1-5, inclusive. The same reference numerals have been applied to FIGS. 7ll as are used on the corresponding parts of FIGS. 1-5. The arrangement of FIGS. 7-11 differs from the above described modification primarily in that the side walls 17 and 21 are not arranged with respect to the side edges of the main panel so as to provide a recessed bottom. Stated otherwise, the fold lines 18 and 22 are generally tangential to the fold lines 5 and 6, respectively. In addition, a strap such as the strap 2 as depicted in FIG. 6 is not shown with the arrangement of FIGS. 7-11. The side walls 17 and 21 are provided with flaps 41 and 42 which are foldably joined to their associated side panels by the fold lines 43 and 44, respectively.

In view of the fact that the same folding operations are performed in order to construct a container from the blank depicted in FIG. 8 into collapsed form as depicted in FIG. 11 as were described above in connection with FIGS. 1-5, a detailed description thereof is not deemed necessary.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be understood that-the invention is not limited thereto. For instance, the end panels may be omitted entirely if an open-ended tray structue is desired. In another modification, the main panel may have the shape of a complete oval while the sidewall panels are extended to meet or overlap at opposite ends. It is my intention to cover in the appended claims all such and other changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A container comprising a main panel of yieldable material and having side and end edges, a side panel disposed in generally normal relation to said main panel along a side edge thereof, and an elevator panel having one edge foldably joined to said edge of said main panel and having another edge foldably joined to an adjacent edge of said side panel, said elevator panel being disposed in flat face contacting relation to the inner surface of said side panel and being dimensioned with its said edges at varying distances apart to impart a degree of curvature to said main panel in a direction generally normal to the plane thereof and generally normal to the ends of said main panel.

2. A container comprising a main panel of bendable material and having side and end edges, a side panel disposed in generally normal relation to said main panel along a side edge thereof and having a substantially straight longitudinal edge, and an elevator panel having a substantially straight edge foldably joined to said edge of said side panel and having another edge foldably joined to an adjacent edge of said main panel, said elevator panel being disposed in flat face contacting relation to the inner surface of said side panel and the fold line between said main and said elevator panels being configured to impart a degree of curvature to said main panel in a direction generally normal to the plane and generally normal to the ends of said main panel thereof.

3. A container blank comprising a main panel having a longitudinal medial fold line and inwardly tapered side edges, an elevator panel foldably joined to each of said inwardly tapered side edges of said main panel to form a quadrilateral panel, a pair of side panels foldably joined to said elevator and panels along the side edges of said quadrilateral panel, a bracing panel foldably joined to the end edges of said elevator panels, and an end panel foldably joined to each end edge of each side panel and to the adjacent edge of the adjacent bracing panel.

4. A blank according to claim 3 wherein the elevator panels are coextensive with the main panel so as to space the adjacent side panel from the side edge of said main panel throughout the entire length thereof.

'5. A container comprising a main panel of bendable material having side and end edges, a pair of side panels of bendable material disposed in generally normal relation to said main panel along opposite side edges thereof, a pair of end panels adjoined respectively to the adjacent ends of the said side panels, and elevator panels having one edge foldably joined to said side edges of said main panel and having another edge foldably joined to an adjacent edge of said side panels, said elevator panels being disposed in fiat face contacting relation to the inner surfaces of the adjacent side panels and being configured to impart a degree of curvature to said main panel in a direction generally normal to the plane thereof and wherein the configuration of the edges of said main panel along the fold lines between said main panel and said elevator panels constitute contour defining edges adjacent which said side panels are held by said end panels and which thus determine the degree of curvature of said side panels in a direction generally normal to the plane and end edges thereof.

6. A container comprising a main panel of bendable material having side and end edges, a pair of side panels of bendable material disposed in generally normal relation to said main panel along opposite side edges thereof, a pair of end panels adjoined respectively to the adjacent end of said side panels, and elevator panels having one edge foldably joined to said side edges of said main panel and having another edge foldably joined to an adjacent edge of said side panels, said elevator panels being disposed in fiat face contacting relation to the inner surfaces of the adjacent side panels and being configured to impart a degree of curvature to said main panel in a direction generally normal to the plane and end edges thereof and wherein a slit is formed at the edge of each side panel which is adjacent said main panel and wherein a strap is adjustably disposed within at least one of said slits so as to form a closure band for the container.

7. A container according to claim 6 wherein the edges of said elevator panels which are adjoined to said side panels and to said main panel respectively are spaced apart from the entire length of the side panels so as to space said main panel from the edges of said side panels which are adjoined to said elevator panels.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 743,205 11/ 1903 Tupper et a1 22932 1,876,200 9/1932 Brown et al. 22932 1,961,330 10/ 193-3 Sherman 2129-52 2,057,002 10/1936 Bomberger 22952 2,128,723 8/1938 Zettler 22952 2,330,521 9/ 194 3 Scheide 22931 2,405,310 8/ 1946 Larkin 22952 2,690,289 9/ 1954 Claus 22952 FOREIGN PATENTS "939,969 10/1963 Great Britain.

JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.

J. F. MCNULTY, D. F. NORTON, Assistant Examiners.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US743205 *Apr 13, 1903Nov 3, 1903Frank B TupperPan.
US1876200 *Jul 6, 1929Sep 6, 1932Fibreboard Products IncCarton
US1931330 *May 13, 1932Oct 17, 1933Ashtabula Corrugated Box CompaMarket basket
US2057002 *Jul 25, 1935Oct 13, 1936Fruit And Produce Packing IncBasket and cover construction
US2128723 *Apr 17, 1937Aug 30, 1938Zettler William FPackage handle
US2330521 *Jun 6, 1939Sep 28, 1943Lester B ScheideReceptacle
US2405310 *Apr 3, 1944Aug 6, 1946Hinde & Dauch CompanyBasket handle
US2690289 *Nov 1, 1950Sep 28, 1954Gaylord Container CorpCollapsible carrying means for receptacles
GB939969A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5433373 *Mar 21, 1994Jul 18, 1995Zoeller; Kenneth M.Carriers for supporting and transporting shower related items
US5489063 *Jul 18, 1991Feb 6, 1996W-Y Plastics Products Corp.Food container
US7118023 *Aug 26, 2004Oct 10, 2006Holdsworth James KStackable display container
US7681782 *Dec 8, 2006Mar 23, 2010Bath & Body Works Brand Management, Inc.Collapsible gift box
US7686206 *Oct 26, 2006Mar 30, 2010Bath & Body Works Brand Management, Inc.Collapsible gift box
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/117.19, 229/117.26, 229/116.1, 229/117.3, 229/190, 229/117.5, 229/914, 229/117.25
International ClassificationB65D5/46, B65D5/36
Cooperative ClassificationB65D5/46024, Y10S229/914, B65D5/3685
European ClassificationB65D5/36B6, B65D5/46A2