US 3275188 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept 27, 1966 J. D. WILSON 3,275,188
RECEPTACLE Filed Jan. 18, 1965 United States Patent O 3,275,188 RECEPTACLE .lames D. Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., vassigner to Banner Metals, luc., Compton, Calif., a corporation of h10 Filed ian. 13, 1965, Ser. No. 426,062 3 Claims. (Cl. 220-97) The present invention relates tto an improved construction `for a nestable-stackahle container which is suitable Ifor storing, shipping, and displaying different types of comestibles, such as eggs, or other products.
The improved container of the invention is intended primarily, though not exclusively, to receive cardboard cartons of eggs. However, as indicated above, the container is not limited to such a use, but may find general application, as will become apparent as the present description proceeds. For convenience, however, the container will be described in conjunction with the usual retailad'ozen cardboard egg cartons.
The container can be formed from a variety of materials. For example, it may be composed of a thermoplastic or thermosetting plastic material, such las polyethylene, polystyrene, a phenolic or a melamine, and so on.
The containers of the invention are constructed so thalt they `may be stacked on top of one another. The stacking is such that a loaded upper container does not rest on the contents of a lower container. This feature, of course, is essential when the containers are loaded with filled cardboard egg cartons.
The containers of the invention are also constructed so that when they Iare empty, they may be conveniently nested into telescopic relationship Iwith respect to one another. This permits the empty containers to be stored, or returned to `the original source, with minimum space requirements.
As mentioned above, the nestable-stackable containers of the invention find particular utility in the egg industry. For example, the aforesaid retail-dozen filled egg cartons may be loaded into the containers at any appropriate distribution point for transport to the retail outlets.
When the containers arrive at the retail outlets, they may be placed directly into refrigerated display cabinets; or the contents may be removed and placed in such refrigerated display cabinets. For example, the containers may be placed on their sides in the display cabinets, or in an inclined position `for ready access to the customers.
When empty, and as indicated above, the containers of the invention may be neste-d and returned to the distribution point. In this manner, space is conserved on the return trip.
As will be described, and as mentioned above, the improved nestable-stackable containers of the invention may be composed of a plastic material, or any other suitable material may be used. The containers are constructed to have a clam shell configuration, so that they may be opened slightly to permit nesting, and/or to permit convenient access to the products in .the container.
It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to provide an improved nestable-stack-able container which is simple and inexpensive in its construction; and yet which is rigid, rugged, and long lasting.
Another object of the invention is to provide such an improved nestable-stackable container which may be rapidly loaded and unloaded, and which may be conveniently handled.
Yet another object o-f the invention is to provide such an improved nestable-stackable container which, when loaded, may be conveniently stacked on other like containers in a vertically aligned tier; and when so stacked is held in a stable condition Without any tendency to outward or inward movement of its sides.
Patented Sept. 27, 1956 Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from .a consideration of the following specification, when the specification is taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE l is a perspective view of a nestable-stackable container constructed in accordance with the concepts of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is an end view of the nestable-stackable container of FIGURE 1, and illustrating the container in an open and ina closed condition;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional View, taken substantially on the line 3 3 of FIGURE 2, and showing the manner in which the two portions of the nestable-stackable container may be pivotally coupled to one another;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary sectional View, substantially on the line 4-4 of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary view, partly in section, showing how the receptacles stack on one another.
As illustrated in the drawings, the illustrated embodiment of the nestable-stackable container of the invention includes a first portion 10 and a second portion y12. Each of these portions lmay be formed of an appropriate plastic, or other material; and the portions define the bottom, side walls and end walls of the container. It Will be Iappreciated that each of the portions 10 and 12 has a configuration approximating a solid triangle.
The portion 10, for example, defines a side |wall 14 for the container, `and the portion 12 defines a side wall 16. The side Walls 14 and 16 are disposed in facing parallel and spaced relationship when the nestable-stackable container is in the closed condition shown in FIGURE 1. In addition, the portion 10 defines a part 18 of the bottom of the container which is integral 'with the side vwall 14; and the portion 12 defines another part 20 of the bottom which is integral with the side wall 16.
In addition, each of the portions 10 and 12 has a pair of triangular shaped parts which are integral with the other parts, and which cooperate to form the end walls of the container. For example, the portion 10 has parts 22 and 24 which are integral with the side wall 14 and with the bottom part 18. Likewise, the portion 12 has triangular shaped parts 26 and 28 which are integral with the side wall 16 and with the bottom portion 20.
As illustrated, the side walls 14 and 16 may be slotted so as to save material, and to lighten the structure. Also, to add to the strength of the container, the side walls may have a corrugated configuration, -as shown, for eX- ample, in FIGURES 1 and 5. A pair of rectangular apertures 30 and 32 may be formed in the respective side walls 14 and 16 to form handles for the container.
The two portions 10 and 12 are pivotally coupled to one another as by appropriate pivot couplings, such as the pivot 34 shown in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3. This pivot may be formed, as shown in FIGURE 3, by an integral post formed on the part 28 of the portion 12, and which fits into an aperture in the part 24 of the portion 10. This post may be spun over, as shown in FIGURE 3, so as to cause the two portions 10 and 12 to be pivotally held together in an assemled condition. Also, the end wall parts 24 and 28 may have an overlapping configuration, as shown in FIGURE 3, so as to provide rigidity in the coupling. It will be appreciated that a similar pivot coupling is provided between the end wall parts 22 and 26 in axial alignment with the coupling 34.
By means of the coupling arrangement, the two portions 10 and 12 are coupled together so that the respective bottoms 18 and 20 overlap one another slightly, and so that the end wall parts 24, 28 and 22, 26 also have an overlapping relationship, as shown.
The assembly therefore has a clam shell configuration. The two portions 14 and 16 are capable of angular movement about the axis formed by the pivotal coupling 34 and the similar pivotal coupling between the end walls 22 and 26. This axis extends transversely across the plane of the bottom of the container, and is displaced up from the plane of the bottom. Suitable stops may be provided to limit the relative angular movement of the two portions and 12 about the axis, so as to limit the extent to which the container may be opened and closedf A pair of stacking members 36 and 38 is formed at the upper edges of the respective side walls 14 and 16. These stacking members define respective grooves which extend along the length of the container. The members 36 and 38 may be formed integral with the corresponding portions 10 and 12. A secondpair of stacking members takes the form of integral Ibeads 40 and 42. These beads extend along the under side of the bottom of the container, and they are aligned with respective ones of the stacking members 36 and 38.
It will be appreciated (FIGURE 5) that when a nestable-stackable container, such as the container shown in FIGURE 1, is stacked on a like nestable-stackable container, the stacking beads 40 and 42 fit into the grooves defined by the stacking members, similar to the stacking members 36 and 38 shown in FIGURE 1.
The extent to which the nestable-stackable container of the invention maybe opened may be limited by the aforesaid stops, to a degree just sufiicient to permit the lower stacking members 40 and 42 to pass down into the interior of a lower, like container, and to pass the upper stacking members of the lower container. In this manner, merely by moving each of the -containers to the open position, a plurality of containers may be nested down into one another.
Any one of the nestable-stackable containers of the invention may be easily loaded, while it is in the open position, since the side walls of the container assume a flared position, so as to facilitate the loading of the egg cartons, for example, into the container.
This enables relatively rapid loading of the nestablestackable containers of the invention to be realized. After a full load of cartons has been placed in a particular container, the container may be raised by both hands, extending through the apertures 30 and 32. This operation automatically causes the nestable-stackable container to assume its closed condition, in which its sides are disposed vertically, and parallel to one another.
It will be appreciated that it is not actually necessary to push the side walls of the container of the invention together, to close the container when the container is in a loaded condition. This is because the weight of the loaded egg cartons, or other products, in the container automatically cause it to assume a closed condition, since the load opposes the upward thrust of the floor of conveyor on which the container is placed.
Therefore, as long as the nestable-stackable container of the invention remains on the oor, or on the conveyor, its sides will automatically be held vertical, and the container will automatically be retained in the closed condition. Moreover, all handling of the container, by which it is lifted up from the floor or conveyor, is efiectuated by grasping the container through the openings 30 and 32, so that the side walls are again automatically maintained vertical, and the container is kept in its closed condition, for all such handling.
The nestable-stackable containers of the invention may be stacked on top of one another, as mentioned above,
.and the resulting tiers may extend, for example, to tive -or six feet in height. The containers are stacked on one another, merely by placing the one end of the lower stacking beads 40 and 42 of any particular container in the corresponding ends of the upper stacking grooves 36 `and 38 of the next lower container, and then by pushing the iupper container along the guide formed by the upper .stacking grooves, until it drops into place.
lt will be appreciated ,that when an upper container is stacked over a lower container, the lower container is held rigid by the upper container with its side walls firmly retained in the vertical closed condition. That is, the lower stacking beads 40 and 42 of the upper container, engage the upper stacking grooves 36 and 38 of the lower container (FIGURE 5), so that the side walls of the lower container are rigidly held in the closed condition. This engagement eliminates `any tendency whatever for the side Walls of the lower container to spread, when the containers are in the stacked condition. In addition, the side walls cannot move inwardly, so that each container is held in such a manner that its side walls are locked in the vertical closed condition, when the second container is stacked on top of it. The stacking of one container over another is in a truly vertical tier, and the resulting column is rigid and stable.
The stacked container can then be handled by conventional methods to be loaded into trucks, and to be transported to the retail market, and subsequently placed in a refrigerated room, or in a refrigerated display case. It will be appreciated that when the nestable-stackable containers of the invention are placed, for example, in a display case, and turned on one side, so as to make the contents readily accessible, the upper stacking members 36 or 38 acts as an appropriate sto-p, so as to retain the egg cartons in the container, and to prevent them'from sliding out of the container. In fact, the containers may be placed in the display case in a manner such that they are tilted downwardly so as to permit easy access. Also, the containers of the invention may be opened slightly to further acilitate the ease with which the cartons may be removed from the containers.
In addition, whenever it is desired to remove all the egg cartons, or other products, in unison from the containers of the invention, this may be readily achieved, because of the fact that the containers may be opened slightly, so as to facilitate such a removal. For example, the cartons may be moved by means of an appropriate scoop, which may fit down into the open container, and around the cartons.
In either event, once the individual nestable-stackable containers of the invention are empty, they may be opened, and nested down into one another, for the convenient return to the distribution source. It will be appreciated that nesting Iand stacking of the containers, is achieved without any necessity for mutual rotation of the containers to a selected orientation; and without the need for movable bails, or the like.
The invention provides, therefore, a rigid and rugged nestable-stackable container, which incorporates a minimum of moving parts. The nestable-stackable container of the invention is particularly advantageous in that, as described above, it may be readily loaded and unloaded with egg cartons, or other products.
Moreover, when loaded, the containers may be easily stacked on one another, the stacked containers forming a rigid and stable tier, in which each container serves to lock the next lower container in a closed condition. When the containers are empty, they may be readily nested into one another, with a minimum of manipulation, so as to permit space conservation to be achieved, when the containers are returned to the source.
The containers of the invention may be readily manufactured of plastic material, and may exhibit durable and long lasting qualities.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been described, modifications may be made. The following claims are intended to cover all modiiications which fall within the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A nestable-stackable container including: a first -member defining a first side wall for the container, further dening a first portion of a bottom for the container extending perpendicularly to said first side wall, and further deiining a first pair of right-angled triangular-shaped sections each having an apex adjacent the upper edge of said first side Wall and each forming a first portion of each of a pair of end Walls for the containers, said first portion of each of said end Walls extending perpendicularly to said first side Wall and perpendicularfly to said first portion of said bottom; a second member defining a second side wall for the container, further defining a second portion of the bottom for the container extending perpendicularly to said second side Wall and adapted to overlap said first portion of said bottom, and further defining a second pair of right-angled triangular-shaped sections each having an apex adjacent the upper edge of said second side wall and each forming a second portion of each of the aforesaid pair of end walls for the container, said second portion of each of said end walls extending perpendicularly to said second side wall and perpendicularly to said second portion of said bottom and adapted to overlap respective ones of said first portions of said end walls; a pair of pin members positioned adjacent said bottom portions and extending through the overlapping portions of respective ones of 20 said end walls pivotally to couple said first member to said second member for angular movement of said first and 'second members between an opened and a closed condition about an axis extending adjacent and transversely of said bottom; first stacking means mounted on respective ones of said side walls at the respective upper edges thereof, said first stacking means comprises a pair of first stacking members formed integral with respective ones of said side Walls and extending along the respective upper edges thereof to define a pair of stacking grooves; and second stacking means mounted on respective ones of said first and second members, said second stacking means comprises a pair of second stacking members each having a bead-like configuration and formed integral with respective ones of said first and second members and extending across the underside of the respective bottom portions thereof in alignment with respective ones of said first stacking members to be received in the first stacking members of a like receptacle.
2. The nestable-stackable container of claim 1 in which said first and second members are integral and formed of plastic material.
3. The nestable-stackable container defined in claim 1 in which each of said side WaLls includes an opening forming a handle for the container.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,513,693 7/ 1950 Turbyfill 220-97 2,994,457 8/1961 Fornas 220-97 FOREIGN PATENTS 903,125 8/1962 Great Britain.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
GEORGE E. LOWRANCE, Examiner.