US 3315410 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 25, 1967 S. FRENCH ,315,410
MOLDED PULP CONTAINER Filed Nov. 3 1965 INVENTOR %A ATTORNEYS United States Patent Mam Filed Nov. 3, 1965, Ser. No. 506,223 6 Claims. (CI. 47-34) This invention relates to containers molded of fibrous pulp material, and more particularly to molded pulp containers adapted to hold moist plant growing earth.
Prior to the present invention, numerous materials have been proposed for the construction of flower pot and planter containers. Included among the pervious or absorbant materials are the so-called fibrous types such as wood and paper pulp, peat moss and the like. Although especially advantageous because of their low cost, fibrous materials and in particular wood and paper pulp are marked by a tendency to absorb moisture which often results in structural failure of the molded fibrous article. Without adequate ventilation, support and drainage, flower pots and planters constructed of fibrous pulp have a tendency to become soggy, particularly when the potting soil therein is moistened to promote plant growth. This sogginess has caused the heretofore available containers molded of fibrous material to collapse and decay in a highly unsatisfactory manner.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a simple, dependable and economical planter molded of fibrous pulp material.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp planter which is constructed to assure adequate drainage of excess water from inside the planter.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp planter which is constructed to allow outside air to circulate under and around the bottom of the planter to decrease its sogginess and maintain its strength.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp planter which is constructed to insure stability when used in normal fashion.
In accordance with this invention, a container molded of fibrous pulp materialcompn'ses a bottom having an upwardly and outwardly flaring side wall connected thereto to suitably hold plant potting material. The connection between the bottom and the side wall forms a wide, sturdy support corner lying in a substantially flat plane which defines the lower extremity of the container. At least one drainage aperture extends through a portion of the bottom which is spaced above the flat plane and maintained in the desired position by downwardly contoured supports. Upwardly extending ribs form channels in the bottom which extend from the portion of the bottom spaced above the fiat plane to the periphery of the container where they form brief interruptions in the corner defining the lower extremity of the container.
The bottom of the molded fibrous pulp container is substantially conical and slopes upwardly from the circular peripheral corner to the raised portion through which the drainage aperture extends. The downwardly contoured supports formed in the container bottom preferably comprise rib-like structures generally radially arranged with respect to the drainage aperture to efliciently support the aperture-containing bottom portion above the fiat plane defining the lower extremity of the container. The upwardly extending channels in the container bottom are also radially arranged with respect to the drainage aperture to thereby provide a plurality of highly eificient passageways serving dual ventilation and drainage purposes.
Novel features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art from a reading of the following description in conjunction with the ice accompanying drawingswherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a container according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the container shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the container of this invention with a second container nested therein; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional elevational view on line 44 of FIG. 1.
Referring in more particularity to the drawings, the molded pulp container illustrated may be formed as a unitary structure manufactured according to known pulp slurry deposition processes to provide a molded flowerpot or planter 10 of generally uniform thickness throughout. The configuration of the preferred embodiment includes an essentially circular bottom 12 having an outer peripheral portion 14 to which an upwardly and outwardly flaring surrounding side wall 16 is connected.
The side wall 16 includes a first inclined section 18 and a second inclined section 20 secured to the first section 18 by an annular, outwardly directed shoulder portion 22. The upper end of the second section 20 may be provided with an outwardly flaring marginal rim 24. As is Well known, articles having inclined side Walls are particularly adapted for nested stacking. Articles molded of pulp however, have a tendency to cling or adhere to one another in a highly unsatisfactory manner which makes it extremely diflicult to remove or de-nest these articles from such a stack without tearing or mutilating the articles. FIG. 3 illustrates the planter 10 with a second planter 10' nested therein. The extent to which the upper planter 10' nests within the planter 10 is controlled by the upper portion of the wall 20 adjacent the marginal rim 24 of planter 10 abutting the annular shoulder portion 22' of planter 10. By limiting the depth of nesting, the end planter may be conveniently removed or denested since the entire side wall 16 is not in frictional jamming contact with the side wall of the adjacent planter.
In the preferred embodiment of this invention, illustrated in the drawings, the circular bottom 12 comprises a substantially conical portion 26 connected at its inner end to a substantially flat horizontal portion 28 spaced above a flat support surface 30 upon which the planter rests. As previously mentioned, the side wall 16 of the planter 10 is connected to the outer peripheral portion 14 of the circular bottom 12. The peripheral portion 14 forms the outer end of the conical portion 26, and the connection between the side wall 16 and the peripheral portion 14 of the bottom 12 forms a corner 32 lying in a substantially flat plane which defines the lower extremity of the planter or flower pot 10. The corner 32 provides strong, essentially continuous structure to insure wide base support for the container.
The horizontal portion 28 of the circular bottom 12 is provided with at least one centrally located drainage aperture 34 which connects the interior of the planter to the air circulating beneath the bottom 12 in a manner more fully explained below. The drainage aperture 34 forms an opening in the circular bottom 12 to allow excess water within the planter to escape or drain through in a manner which minimizes the amount of moisture absorbed by the material of the planter itself.
The conical portion 26 of the circular bottom 12 includes a plurality of upwardly contoured straight chan nels 36 connected to extend from the flat horizontal porton 28 to the peripheral portion 14. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the contoured channels 36 are generally radially arranged with respect to the drainage aperture 34, and the outer end of each channel forms a brief interruption 38 in the corner 32 which defines the lower extremity of the planter.
The radially arranged, upwardly contoured channels 36 function to provide several important features of the present invention. First, the rib-like configuration of these channels enables them to function as highly satisfactory reinforcing elements for the circular bottom 12.
Second, the channels 36 provide the bottom 12 with assageways extending from the drainage aperture 34 to the brief interruptions 38 in the corner 32. The arrangement and configuration of the channels 36 causes excess water draining from the planter to travel along the channels and through the interruptions, rather than remain underneath the bottom where such Water would be absorbed by the molded pulp. Third, the channels 36 connect the circular bottom 12 with the outside air to allow the air to circulate under the bottom to decrease its sogginess and thereby maintain its strength at a desired maximum value.
The circular bottom 12 of the planter 10 also includes a plurality of downwardly contoured supports 40, which extend from adjacent the drainage aperture 34 to the corner 32 defining the lower extremity of the planter. The downwardly contoured supports 40 serve to maintain the aperture-containing horizontal bottom portion 28 spaced above the support surface 30. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the supports 40 are in the preferred embodiment formed by straight, rib-like depression structures generally radially arranged with respect to the drainage aperture 34 of the planter, although it will be appreciated that other shapes of downwardly contoured supports could readily be employed.
The preferred embodiment of this invention presents a highly dependable and economical planter molded of fibrous pulp material. The drainage aperture in the conical bottom is spaced above the impervious supporting surface and the radially arranged upwardly contoured channels provide passageways to assure drainage of excess water from the inside of the planter. Such an arrangement prevents the bottom from becoming extremely soggy which might otherwise occur if the bottom were in direct contact with the supporting surface.
Additionally, the channels allow outside air to circulate under the conical bottom to prevent sogginess and thus insure strength retention and resistance to decay. ,The drainage aperture is maintained properly spaced above the supporting surface by the radially arranged downwardly contoured supports. These supports strengthen the conical bottom and maintain the aperture above the supporting surface in the event that the bottom should become soggy.
While a preferred mode of practicing the invention has been described in considerable detail for the benefit of those having ordinary skill in the art, it will be apparent that numerous changes and equivalents may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention as defined by the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A container molded of fibrous pulp material comprising a bottom having an upwardly and outwardly flaring side wall connected around the periphery of the bottom, the connection between the bottom and the side wall forming a corner lying in a substantially flat plane defining the lower extremity of the container for supporting it on a surface, the bottom including a horizontal center portion spaced above the substantially flat plane and a conical portion that extends upwardly from the corner to the horizontal center portion, a drainage aperture extending through the horizontal center portion of the bottom, downwardly contoured support means formed in the conical portion of the bottom to extend from adjacent the aperture, the lower extremity of the support means lying along its entire length in the substantially flat plane to maintain the aperture spaced above the substantially flat plane, upwardly contoured channel means formed in the conical portion of the bottom to extend from the horizontal center portion of the bottom to the corner, the channel means being spaced from the support means and forming a brief interruption in the corner defining the lower extremity of the container.
2. The container of claim 1 wherein the downwardly contoured support means comprises straight, rib-like structures.
3. The container of claim 2 wherein the straight, riblike structures are generally radially arranged with respect to the aperture.
4. The container of claim 3 wherein a plurality of straight channel means are generally radially arranged with respect to the aperture.
5. The container of claim 4 wherein a single drainage aperture is essentially centrally located in the bottom.
6. The container of claim 5 wherein the bottom is essentially circular.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 19,406 11/ 1889 Whilldin 4734 D. 20,336 11/1890 Whilldin 4734 3,009,603 11/1961 Stockdale 47-34 X 3,027,684 4/ 1962 Keiding 47--34 ABRAHAM G. STONE, Primary Examiner, R, CARTER, Assistgnt Examiner.