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Publication numberUS3342346 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 19, 1967
Filing dateSep 8, 1965
Priority dateSep 8, 1965
Publication numberUS 3342346 A, US 3342346A, US-A-3342346, US3342346 A, US3342346A
InventorsTucker Council A
Original AssigneeShell Oil Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stacking and nesting tray
US 3342346 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 19, 1967 c TUCKER 3,342,346

STACKING AND NESTING TRAY Filed Sept. 8, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. 2

INVENTOR COUNCIL A. TUCKER HIS ATTORNEY p 19, 1967 c. A. TUCKER 3,342,346

STACKING AND NESTING TRAY Filed Sept. 8, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 3

INVENTOR'.

COUNCiL A. TUCKER HIS ATTORNEY P 19, 1967 c. A. TUCKER 3,342,346

STACKING AND NESTING TRAY Filed Sept. 8, 1965 (5 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG. 5

INVENTOR'.

FIG 6 COUNCIL A. TUCKER BY WWW/2M.

HIS ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,342,346 STACKING AND NESTING TRAY Council A. Tucker, Glendale, Calif., assignor to Shell Oil Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 8, 1%5, Ser. No. 485,960 7 Claims. (Cl. 211-126) This invention relates to stacking and nesting containers. More particularly, the invention relates to a stackable, nestable container of substantially uniform thickness throughout which is fabricated largely of plastic material from a single piece of sheet material.

Specifically, the present invention is directed to an opentop plastic rectangular stackable and nestable container having metal brackets atfixed to the inner surface of upwardly diverging side walls adjacent to upwardly diverging end walls, the front end wall being substantially shorter than the other walls to permit easy access to the container, and the metal brackets having an inwardly directing slotted tab at the top end and a base member containing a hook at the bottom end. Identical containers are stacked by engaging the hooks of the upper container into the slotted tabs of the lower container. An alternative design of the metal brackets permits stacking of identical containers by engaging the hooks of an underneath container into slotted tabs of the superimposed container brackets.

Goods and produce are presently transported to the retail store for final purchase by the consumer in cartons, trays and the like which are fabricated from various materials such as wood, cardboard and metal. Upon arrival at the retail store, it is necessary to transfer the goods, particularly bakery goods such as buns, bread, rolls, cakes and pies to a shelf or counter. This transfer step is a time-consuming operation. In the interest of time economy, bakery goods such as buns and bread, are not transferred to a shelf, but are left in the retail store isles. While such a change did, in fact, result in a savings in time, additional problems were created. Many of the containers employed were of drab design which detracted from the attractiveness and wholesorneness of the contents, so that bakery goods sales decreased. Many other containers were of such structure that stacking was impossible, or cumbersome, or resulted in crushed or damaged goods. If stacking was impossible, it was necessary to set the containers in the isles so that the time savings were negated by the loss in space economy and the isles now became cluttered and bothersome to the customer. Other containers which were capable of stacking did not allow the patron or customer an adequate view and access to the contents of the container. Still other containers capable of stacking could not be nested when the respective container became empty so as to conserve still further upon space. Those containers which could be nested could not be nested readily, i.e., it was generally necessary to rotate the upper container 180 relative to the lower container.

The present container obviates these serious shortcomings exhibited by prior trays and is particularly suitable for consumer display of the goods in the retail store as well as transporting the goods from manufacturer to the store. The present container is attractively so constructed that the contents are within easy view and access. The container is also capable of facile nesting and stacking with identical containers.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide trays or containers which are esthetically attractive as well as functional. Another object of the present invention is to provide structurally sound containers which are capable of nesting and stacking with identical containers. A further object of the present invention is to provide stackable, nestable trays which allow the contents to be easily viewed and easy access thereto is provided. These and other objects will become apparent to one skilled in the art from the following disclosure and drawings.

The invention is described in greater detail and the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the present invention is illustrated in the attached drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a side view of the container;

FIGURE 2 is a partial cross-sectional end view of several containers in stacked and nested positions;

FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of two containers in stacked position;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the metal bracket;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged perspective view of an alternative design of the metal bracket; and

FIGURE 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of two containers in stacked position illustrating the metal bracket of FIGURE 5.

Referring now to FIGURES 1 to 3 of the drawings, the nestable and stackable container A of FIGURE 1, containers A and B of FIGURE 3 and containers A, B and C of FIGURE 2 are all identical. Since all containers or trays are identical, like parts are identified throughout by like reference numerals, therefore, in the following description reference will be made to one of the containers A, B and C only when a cooperative relationship of two or more containers are involved in the description.

Referring more particularly to FIGURES 1 and 3 of the drawings, an integrally-formed open-top rectangular container A formed from a single sheet of plastic comprises a bottom or bottom wall 20 integrally connected to upwardly diverging side walls 21 and 22, and upwardly diverging rear end wall 23 and upwardly diverging front end wall 24. To permit easy access to the container, particularly when identical containers are in stacked arrangement, front wall 24 is substantialy shorter than the side and rear walls. In some instances (not shown in the figures) it may be advantageous to also have rear wall 23 substantially shorter than the side walls and similar to short front end wall 24. The side and end walls terminate at their upper extremity in a bead 40 which is continuous and extends around the entire upper edge of the side and end walls of the container providing reinforcement and handle means. In side wall 21, adjacent rear end wall 23 and front end wall 24 are ports 25 and 26, respectively, said ports adapted to fittingly engage flange or wing 51 of metal bracket 50. Likewise, in side wall 22 (FIGURE 3) adjacent rear end wall 23 and front end wall 24 are ports 27 and 28, respectively, said ports adapted to fittingly engage flange or wing 51 of metal bracket 50. For most applications the bottom wall 20 is substantially solid and flat (planar); however, in some instances it may be desirable to form grooves or reinforcing ribs 29 by downwardly (or upwardly) depressing bottom wall 20 as shown in FIGURE 1. Such reinforcing ribs may be transverse of the container as shown in FIGURE 1 or they may be longitudinally formed or formed in both directions. For still other applications such as the draining of washed produce, it may be desirable to punch or form a plurality of holes or drain perforations 30 in the bottom wall as shown in FIGURE 3. Metal bracket 50 is permanently affixed to the inner surface of side walls 21 and 22 and bottom wall 20 by suitable means such as rivets 55. It

will be noted that metal bracket 50 is affixed over each.

of the ports 25, 26, 27 and 28 so that flange 51 of metal bracket 50 fittingly engages the side and top edges of side wall ports.

Before further describing the afiixation of metal brackets 50 to the tray or container, and the stacking and nesting positions of identical trays or containers, it is desirable to describe first metal bracket 50 in more detail. Accord- Patented Sept. 19, 1967.

ingly, reference is made to FIGURE 4 wherein the metal bracket 50 has a generally C-sha=pe and comprises an upright fiat or planar body 59, a top or upper tab 53 and a bottom or lower base member 58. For convenience tab 53 and base 58 may be defined as inwardly projecting since when the bracket is affixed to a tray, they (the tab and base) project inwardly into the tray. The plane of tab 53 is normally at an obtuse angle relative to the plane of body 59 although this angle approaches and in some instances may be 90. The plane of base 58 is generally at an obtuse angle relative to the plane of body 59, although again, this angle approaches 90 and is dependent upon the relative divergence of the side walls upwardly from the bottom wall. Planar body 59 may contain one or more holes or apertures 56 adapted to receive fastening means such as rivets 55 for affixing the bracket to side walls 21 and 22 of the tray. Likewise, base 58 may be provided with similar holes 57 for affixing the bracket to bottom wall 20 of the tray. Body 59 of bracket 50 contains port 60 in the planar surface thereof having the same configuration as side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28. Around the side and top inner edges of port 60 a flange or wing 51 projects outward (oppositely from tab 53 and base 58) from the planar surface of body 59 a distance approximately equal to the thickness of the tray side walls. Flange 51 thereby fittingly engages the inner side and top edges of side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28 when the brackets are affixed to the tray. Top tab 53 contains slot 54 adapted to engage hook 52 of another identical bracket affixed to a superimposed identical tray in stacking position. Vertically below slot 54 in tab 53 and midway between the lateral ends (forward-rearward) of base 58, hook 52 projects outwardly and downwardly, said hook 52 being adapted to engage slot 54 of a bracket on a stacked underneath tray.

In FIGURE 3 it will be seen that each tray or container has four brackets 50 atfixed to side walls 21 and 22 so that flange 51 of bracket 50 engages side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28, i.e., one bracket for each port. It will be appreciated that in such a position, base plate or member 58 sets upon bottom wall 20 and the planar surface of body 59 lays adjacent the side Wall 21 or 22 as the case may be. In other words, the outer surface of body 59 is contiguous at all points with the inner surface of side wall 21 or 22 when affixed thereto. Bracket 50 is then affixed to the side and bottom walls by any suitable means such as rivets, screws, or bolts 55 or the like. Further, in such an affixed position, hook 52 projects outward and downward through or into one of the respective side wall ports and tab 53 projects inwardly into the tray from the side wall. At this point it is pertinent to point out that the obtuse angle between the plane of tab 53 and the plane of body 59 of bracket 50 is so selected that tab 53 is approximately parallel to the plane of bottom wall 20 and at approximately the same level as bead 40.

Identical containers or trays A and B may be conveniently stacked as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 3. It will be observed that hook 52 of bracket 50 of superimposed container A engages slot 54 of bracket 50 of lower container B. In such a stacked position, superimposed container A is supported at four such points near its respective corners.

When a container becomes empty or when it becomes otherwise desirable to nest the container, 2. superimposed container can be conveniently nested with another container as shown in FIGURE 2. Thus container B (shown in nesting position in FIGURE 2) stacked upon container C is simply nested from a stacked position by raising container B a short distance vertically until all four hooks 52 of container B disengages slots 54 of container C. Container B is then moved forwardly (or rearwardly) Without significant lateral displacement until hooks 52 of container B clear tabs 53 of container C. Container B is then lowered slightly so hooks 52 of container B are below tabs 53 of container C, displaced rearwardly (or forwardly) a short distance, and allowed to settle into a nesting 4 position as shown in FIGURE 2. It will be observed that hooks 52 of the uppermost nested con-tainer conveniently fall within side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28. It will be noted that flanges 51 serve as contacting and guiding means for tab 53 when a tray is allowed to settle into nesting position thus preventing wear on the side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28. Flanges 51 also provide a stiffening or reinforcement of the metal bracket. Of course, when it is desired to stack containers which are in the nested position, the above-described procedure is reversed.

An alternative design of the metal bracket is illustrated in FIGURE 5 wherein the metal bracket 70 has a generally L-sha-pe or an imperfect C-shape and comprises an upright essentially vertical flat or planar body 69 and a bottom or lower base member 68. The planar body 69 at its upper extremity tapers upwardly and slopes inwardly (when attached to a tray) a short distance and then upwardly a short distance to form hook 62 adapted to engage slot 64 of a bracket on a stacked superimposed identical tray. Although the slope of the upper extremity of planar body member 69 may vary considerably, it will generally be an obtuse angle so that the slope will range from an included angle of greater than with an included angle of from about to 150 being preferred. An included angle of about is very suitable. The plane of base 68 is also generally at an obtuse angle relative to the plane of body 59, although this angle approaches 90 and is dependent upon the relative divergence of the side walls upwardly from the bottom wall. Planar body 69 may contain one or more holes or apertures 66 adapted to receive fastening means such as rivets, bolts or the like '65 for affixing the bracket to side walls 21 and 22 of the tray. Likewise base 68 may be provided with similar holes 67 for affixing the bracket to bottom wall 20 of the tray. Body 69 of bracket 70 contains port 80 in the planar surface thereof having the same configuration as side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28. Around the side and top inner edges of port 80 a flange or wing 61 projects outward (oppositely from base 68) from the planar surface of body 69 a distance approximately equal to the thickness of the tray side walls. Flange 61 thereby fittingly engages the inner side and top edges of side wall ports 25, 26, 27 and 28 when the brackets are affixed to the tray. Vertically below hook 62 and midway between the lateral ends (forward-rearward) of base 58, tab 63 projects outwardly from base member '68. Tab 63 is provided with slot 64 adapted to engage book 62 of another bracket attached to a stacked underneath identical tray. Hook 62 may be provided with one or more reinforcing ribs 71. One or more inwardly directing projections 72 may be provided on the inner surface of body member 69 so placed and adapted to support the outer sides of bottom wall 20 of a superimposed tray when in two identical trays are in the nested position.

Brackets 70 aer attached to the trays and the trays are stacked generally as shown in FIGURE 3 with the exception of the actual stacking support feature. This modified stacking feature using alternative bracket 70 is illustrated in FIGURE 6 wherein container A is stacked upon container B. Thus, in stacked position slot 64 in tab 63 of bracket 70 of superimposed container A engages hook 62 of bracket 70 of underneath container B. The description of the nesting procedure discussed hereinbefore with regard to containers using bracket 50 is likewise generally applicable to containers using bracket 70.

It will be appreciated that bracket 70 has the same function and principle as bracket 50 with the only significant difference being in the general reversal of the tab position.

The tray may be fabricated from any suitably plastic sheet material such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers.

The bracket can be fabricated from any rigid metallic or semi-metallic material including steel, copper, brass, aluminum, and alloys thereof and may be coated with plastic or enamel or they may be galvanized.

I claim as my invention:

1. An open-top plastic, rectangular nestable and stackable container comprising:

a bottom wall;

upwardly and outwardly diverging side and end walls, one end wall being substantially shorter than the other walls, said side and end walls terminating at their upper extremity in a continuous circumferential head, said side walls adjacent the end walls having ports adapted to engage flanges of a metal bracket;

four metal brackets each engaging one of said side wall ports and being afiixed to the side and bottom walls of the container, said metal brackets being of a generally C-s-hape and comprising;

a planar vertical body portion, the outer planar surface of which is contiguous at all points with the inner surface of the side wall when affixed thereto, said body portion having a port of substantially the same configuration as the side wall ports, said bracket ports at their edges having outwardly directing flanges adapted to fittingly engage the edges of said side Wall ports;

an inwardly directing top tab approximately parallel to the bottom wall of the container when said bracket is attached thereto and containing a slot adapted to engage a hook; and

an inwardly directing planar base member, said base member at its midpoint and vertically below the tab slot being outwardly and downwardly deformed to form a hook adapted to engage the tab slot of an identical bracket affixed to another identical container when the two containers are in stacked position.

2. A container as in claim 1 wherein a plurality of reinforcing ribs are formed in the bottom wall.

3. A container as in claim 1 wherein a plurality of perforations are formed in the bottom wall.

4. A container as in claim 1 wherein the side walls have at least one additional port.

5. A container as in claim 1 wherein the plastic portion is integrally formed from a single sheet of plastic material having substantially uniform thickness.

6. An open-top plastic, rectangular nestable and stackable container comprising:

6 a bottom wall; upwardly and outwardly diverging side and end walls, one end Wall being substantially shorter than the other walls, said side and end walls terminating at 5 their upper extremity in a continuous circumferential head, said side walls adjacent the end walls having ports adapted to engage flanges of a metal bracket; four metal brackets each engaging one of said side wall ports and being aflixed to the side and bottom walls of the container, said metal brackets being of a generally L-shape comprising:

a planar, essentially vertical, body portion, the outer planar surface of which is contiguous at all points with the inner surface of the side wall when aflixed thereto, said body portion having a port of substantially the same configuration as the side wall ports, said bracket port at its edges having outwardly directing flanges adapted to fittingly engage the edges of said side wall port, said planar body member at its upper extremity being upwardly tapered and obliquely sloped inwardly a short distance and then vertically upward a short distance to provide a hook adapted to engage the tab slot of an identical bracket aflixed to a superimposed identical container when the two containers are in stacked position;

an inwardly directing planar base member, said base member at its midpoint and vertically below the hook being outwardly deformed to form a tab including therein a tab slot adapted to engage the hook of an identical bracket aflixed to an identical container when the containers are in stacked position.

7. A container as in claim 6 wherein the other end wall is also substantially shorter than the side walls. 35

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,978,841 4/1961 Miller 220-97 X 3,100,582 8/1963 Lockwood 220-97 3,219,232 11/1965 Wilson 211126 X FOREIGN PATENTS 192,790 11/1957 Austria.

ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2978841 *Dec 10, 1959Apr 11, 1961Stanray CorpInterlocking stacking spacer and guide pin assembly
US3100582 *Jan 4, 1960Aug 13, 1963Lockwood Warren HTierable and nestable receptacle
US3219232 *Mar 9, 1964Nov 23, 1965Banner Metals IncReceptacle
AT192790B * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3407960 *Apr 26, 1967Oct 29, 1968Mid West Metallic Prod IncGuide means for stackable receptacle
US3511387 *Jan 26, 1968May 12, 1970Maslow LouisAutomatic dishwasher receiving means
US4473155 *Sep 29, 1982Sep 25, 1984Frem CorporationStacking and nesting bin
US5215775 *Nov 15, 1990Jun 1, 1993Gap Container CorporationMethod of packaging and treating dough shells
US5318182 *Dec 6, 1991Jun 7, 1994Liberty Diversified IndustriesStackable and reversible trays for storing drawing sheets, paper stock, and the like
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/126.12, 426/261, 206/505
International ClassificationB65D21/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/048
European ClassificationB65D21/04F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 23, 1984ASAssignment
Owner name: BUCKHORN MATERIAL HANDLING GROUP INC., AN OH CORP.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:NESTIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004235/0116
Effective date: 19830630
Jan 7, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: VANGUARD INDUSTRIES, INC.
Free format text: ASSIGNOR WISH TO CORRECT SPELLING OF FIRST WORD OF ASSIGNEES NAME IN ASSIGNMENT DATED DEC. 4, 1972FROM VANGUARD, INDUSTRIES, INC., TO VANGUARD INDUSTRIES, INC.;ASSIGNOR:SHELL OIL COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004048/0013
Effective date: 19800410
Owner name: VANGUARD INDUSTRIES, INC., VIRGINIA
Free format text: ASSIGNOR WISH TO CORRECT SPELLING OF FIRST WORD OF ASSIGNEES NAME IN ASSIGNMENT DATED DEC. 4, 1972FROM VANGUARD, INDUSTRIES, INC., TO VANGUARD INDUSTRIES, INC;ASSIGNOR:SHELL OIL COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004048/0013
Oct 30, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: MIDLAND-ROSS CORPORATION, 20600 CHAGRIN BLVD. CLEV
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NESTIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:003921/0847
Effective date: 19811030
Owner name: NESTIER CORPORATION
Free format text: RELEASED BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:MIDLAND-ROSS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:003921/0855
Effective date: 19811029