US 3344950 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 3, 1967 R. w. ERICKSON 3,344,950
CONTAINER CARRIER Filed Sept 19, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. 1Q ZC/ZQPd MFm'ckso/v F y! 8 BY fl/Z/wr A. Marc/1 ATTO/ENEY Oct. 3, 1967 R. w. ERICKSON 3,344,950
CONTAINER CARRIER Filed Sept. 19, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheeti INVENTOR. 2L chard M Emckson Art um A/Warch A770NEY United States Patent C) 3,344,950 CONTAINER CARRIER Richard W. Erickson, Westport, Conn., assignor to International Omni-Pak Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Sept. 19, 1961, Ser. No. 139,262 8 Claims. (Cl. 220-102) This invention relates to container carriers or packs, and more particularly to throw-away carriers of the type which provide for the consumer a convenient and economical means for obtaining and carrying a larger quantity of a commodity in multiple, small or individual-size units.
An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved container carrier or pack for cans and the like, which may be economically produced as a plastic molded article.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved carrier or pack for cans or the like, which utilizes but little material of low cost whereby the fabrication expense is held to a minimum. I
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved carrier or pack as above set forth, which is simple in construction and which may be economically produced entirely in a single molding operation.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved pack as characterized, which requires no assembly or like operations after the initial molding or fabrication, in order to place it into use.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved plastic pack construction in accordance with the foregoing, which requires essentially no more space than that taken by the group of articles or containers itself whereby there is an appreciable saving of space so that storage in the refrigerator or freezer is feasible, together with the ability to readily stack or group a number of packs with maximum convenience, either loosely arranged or else as contained in cartons.
A feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved carrier or pack of the type outlined, which retains the cans securely during transportation yet is quickly and conveniently operated by the consumer to release the cans for removal.
Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.
In the drawings accompanying this specification, similar characters of reference are used to designate like components throughout the several views, in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a molded single plastic piece constituting the improved container carrier or pack structure.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the molded piece of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the molded piece after it has been straightened or set up, in readiness for receiving the cans or containers.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary front (or rear) elevational view of the set-up carrier or pack structure of FIG. 3, a portion of the handle being omitted for purposes of illustration.
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the set-up carrier or pack, having assembled to it six containers or cans.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view, taken on the line 77 of FIG. 5.
FIG. -8 is a top plan view of an improved carrier or pack illustrating a modification of the invention wherein additional spacer means are provided for engagement with end portions of the cans or containers.
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken on the line 9-9 of FIG. 8, showing also in similar section a lower portion of another pack resting on top of the pack of FIG. 8.
FIG. 10 is a front perspective view of a carton as provided by the invention, containing a number of assembled carriers or packs as illustrated herein.
Referring first to FIGS. 1-7, the improved container carrier or pack of the present invention is illustrated as comprising a single molded plastic piece which may be fabricated by a single molding operation. The plastic piece constituting the pack structure comprises a plurality of upper and lower, fiat nest members 10 and 12 respectively, the said nest members having support means which are interlockingly engageable with the tops and bottoms respectively of a plurality of containers, illustrated herein as circular cans 14. As seen in FIG. 5, the containers 14 are placed side by side in closely spaced relation, there being six in number constituting a standard pack quantity. The support means provided on the nest members 10, 12 are shown as being identical, as regards each member. Considering the upper nest members 10, the support means comprises ring-shaped shoulders 16 and arcuate lugs 18, there being four of the lugs 18 associated with each circular shoulder 16.
The plastic molded piece is preferably of linear polyethylene or similar plastic composition characterized by flexibility and resilience, as well as appreciable strength or toughness and resistance to tearing or rupture. Accordingly, each of the nest members 10, 12, being relatively thin and flat, will bend or yield quite readily, and to increase the yieldability the upper nest members 10 are provided with large central apertures or openings 20 disposed within the circular shoulder formations 16.
Likewise, the lower nest members 12 have ring-shaped shoulders 22 and arcuate lugs 24 associated with the shoulders 22, there being four lugs 24 for each shoulder 22. The lower nest members 12 also have large, centrally located apertures or openings 26 disposed within the ringshaped shoulders 22, as shown.
The upper and lower nest members 10, 12 are joined by tie means comprising a plurality of thin flexible webs 30, 32, 34 and 36. As clearly seen in FIG. 1, the webs 30, 32 straddle or extend between opposite portions of an upper and lower nest members 10, 1.2, whereas the webs 34, 36 straddle the remaining set or pair of nest members 10, 12. The webs 32, 34 are arranged in spaced, parallel relation, and tie strips 40, 42, and 44 interconnect the flexible webs 30, 32, 34 and 36 as illustrated in FIG. 1, the said tie strips being in alignment with each other. Preferably, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the tie means comprising the connector webs 30, 32, 34 and 36 are molded in the shape of a half loop, whereas the upper and lower nest members 10, 12 are molded substantially in the same plane. The extremities of the webs 30, 32, 34 and 36 are shown as connecting with the nest members 10, 12 at substantially right angles. Tie strips 45 and 47 connect respectively the upper nest members 10 and the lower nest members 12, as seen in FIG. 1.
After molding of the piece illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 it may be straightened to occupy or have the shape shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 whereby the carrier structure is set up and adapted to accommodate the six cans or containers 14.
Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the carrier or pack structure also has a handle member which is of substantially U- shaped formation, comprising a pair of arms 48 joined to the upper nest members 10, and a transverse handle bar 50, said arms and bar being molded in flat shape as shown in FIG. 2, substantially in the same plane as the nest members 10, 12. Referring to FIG. 5, the handle 48, 50 is arranged to lie flat against one side of the top portion of the assembled pack when the same is not in use. Accordingly, the handle requires no appreciable additional space, and this is an important feature of the invention. When the pack is to be carried, the handle 48, 50 is grasped and will bend to the position shown in FIG. 3, wherein it extends upward from the containers 14 for carrying purposes.
It will be seen from an inspection of FIGS. 3 and 4 that the tie means comprising the webs 32, 34 and 36 extend between and connect portions of the nest members 10, 12 which are spaced from the support means comprising the ring-shaped shoulders 16, 22 and the arcuate lugs 18, 24. The webs 30, 32, 34 and 36 together with the tie strips 40, 42 and 44 are in the form of an open rectangular framework as seen in FIG. 4. Because of the onepiece molded construction, the nest members 10, 12 tie means 30-36, strips 40-44 and handle 48, 50 are all integral with each other and constitute a single molded piece of resilient plastic substance.
Referring to FIG. 5 it will be seen that portions of the support means on the upper and lower nest members It), 12 are adapted to engage a single container, as for example either of the centrally disposed containers at one side or the other of the pack. The support means comprising the shoulders 16 and 22, lugs 18, 24 are so arranged that the rims or flanges 54 of the containers 14 are interlockingly engaged, being received in the space between the rings and lugs as clearly illustrated in FIG. 5. Considering this figure, in order to remove a container from the pack, it is merely necessary for the consumer to lift one corner of an upper nest member 10, whereby the can is easily freed for removal. The provision of the large central apertures in the nest members facilitates this operation, as has been already mentioned above.
Another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. This embodiment is similar in most respects to that of FIGS. l7, but additionally provides spacer devices which are engageable with certain of the containers at the ends thereof, to efifect a spacing of the packs when these are stacked one above the other.
Portions and components which are similar to those already described above have been given similar characters but with the suffix a. As shown, containers 14a are held assembled in a pack by upper and lower nest members, only the members 10a being visible in FIG. 8 whereas FIG. 9 discloses a bottom nest member 12a of a second pack which has been placed on top of the pack shown in FIG. 8.
The embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9 has, in accordance with the invention, arms 60 provided with enlargements 62 in the shape of solid balls, the said enlargements being adapted to engage the juxtaposed top and bottom end portions of containers 14a of two packs supported one on the other.
The balls 62 thus eflect a spacing of the containers of the stacked acks, and provide added stability and a more precise alignment whereby a large number of packs may be stacked vertically without leaning appreciably and rendering the pile-up unstable to the extent where it might be likely to fall. The arms 60 are shown in the form of thin flat webs; supplementing the spacing effected by the balls 62 is the handle portion 48a, 50a which effects a spacing of the containers disposed at the other side of the pack. Accordingly, a stable support in at least four widely spaced locations is had, of the four corner containers of the pack, whereby a number of packs may be readily stacked vertically without danger of falling.
In FIG. 10 there is illustrated a plurality of container packs each of which comprises a number of cans disposed in side-by-side closely spaced relation as already described above. The packs are located alongside each other at the same level, and three is further provided a cardboard carton 70 which encloses the said packs, said carton having open ends such as the end indicated at 72, having a closed top 74, a closed bottom 76, and apertured sides 78 provided with elongate or rectangular apertures through which portions of the cams project. By such construction there is effected an appreciable saving of material in the construction of the carton 70, since it may be formed by simple parallel fold lines in a perforated rectangular sheet. The solid top 74 of the carton may comprise two fiaps 8t) and 82, which may be secured together by a strip of gummed tape 84. Any other suitable means for joining the two ends of the upper side 74 of the carton may be employed, however.
The carton 70 provides a convenient and inexpensive means for securing together a number of packs, the arrangement shown in FIG. 10 comprising four complete packs each having six containers or cans. The assemblage of FIG. 10 is especially saving of space, and a large number of cartons 70 may be stacked vertically one on another without danger of toppling.
It will now be understood from the foregoing that, in accordance with the present invention, I have provided a novel and improved, simple and inexpensive container carrier construction having a number of advantages. The entire carrier assemblage may be molded in one operation as a single unitary piece, of flexible or resilient plastic substance. Prior to the pack being carried, the handle portion will lie flat whereby a large number of packs may be placed in a carton such as the carton shown in FIG. 10, without any wasted space whatsoever. The carrier is strong and sturdy, yet the cans or containers may be quickly and easily released by the consumer when desired. Relatively little material is involved in the construction of the carrier, and because of its low cost it provides truly a throwaway item as well as having value for reuse where containers are to be returned for one reason or another.
Variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.
1. A molded three-dimensional plastic container carrier for carrying in nested, interlocking relationship a plurality of containers having cylindrical chimes at both ends comprising upper and lower channeled elements, each channeled element including inner upstanding chime engaging means integrally formed with the respective channeled elements adjacent the inner sides of the chimes of the containers and outer upstanding chime-engaging means integrally formed with the respective channeled elements adjacent the outer sides of the chimes of the containers, and means integrally formed with and connecting the channeled elements.
2. A three-dimensional one-piece container carrier made of flexible plastic material comprising upper and lower flat nest members having three-dimensional support means interlockingly engageable with the tops and bottoms respectively of a plurality of containers placed side-by-side in closely spaced relation, the nest members comprising flat plates each having a ring-shaped shoulder and lugs spaced from the shoulder, said lugs and shoulder comprising the said support means; tie means extending between and connecting portions of said nest members which are spaced from the said support means, said members being yieldable to enable them to be spread apart for insertion of containers therebetween; and a handle connected with said tie means and with one nest member.
3. A carrier as in claim 2, wherein each of the nest members has a large central opening disposed within the ring-shaped shoulder to increase the yieldability of the members.
4. A three-dimensional one-piece container carrier made of flexible plastic material comprising upper and lower flat nest members having three-dimensional support means interlockingly engageable with the tops and bottoms respectively of a plurality of containers placed sideby-side in closely spaced relation; tie members extending between and connecting portions of said nest members which are spaced from the said support means, said tie means comprising a thin flexible web end portions of which are joined at right angles to the flat nest members, said web being molded substantially in the form of a half loop, said nest members being yieldable to enable them to be spread apart for insertion of containers therebetween; and a handle connected with said tie means and with one nest member.
5. A carrier as in claim 4, wherein the handle comprises a flat, substantially U-shaped member which is molded in substantially the same plane as the flat nest members.
6. A three-dimensional one-piece container carrier made of flexible plastic material comprising upper and lower fiat nest members having three-dimensional support means interlockingly engageable with the tops and bottoms respectively of a plurality of containers placed side-by-side in closely spaced relation, said nest members having arms extending therefrom, said arms having enlargements at their free ends to engage ends of the containers for spacing purposes; tie means extending between and connecting portions of said nest members which are spaced from the said support means, said members being yielclable to enable them to be spread apart for insertion of containers therebetween; and a handle connected with said tie means and with one nest member.
7. A carrier as in claim 6, wherein the said arms are in the form of thin flat webs, and wherein the enlargements comprise ball-shaped portions.
8. A molded three-dimensional plastic container carrier for carrying in nested relationship a plurality of containers having cylindrical chimes at both ends comprising a pair of channeled elements each having at least two pairs of spaced apart chime-engaging formations for engaging and interlocking with the chimes of containers in side-by-side relationship, and means integrally formed with and connecting both of the channeled elements to hold them against opposite ends of the containers, whereby a pair of chimed containers is locked together in sideby-side relationship, the integrally formed connections for the channeled elements being connected at right angles to the channeled elements, forming an arch when the channeled elements both face in the same direction.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,881,914 4/1959 Woeber et al. 229 X 3,003,805 10/1961 Glazer 220102 X 3,045,863 7/1962 De Chelbor 220-102 3,134,485 5/1964 Bonkowski et al. 3,203,580 8/1965 Erickson 220-402 JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Prim'ary Examiner. GEORGE O. RALSTON, Examiner. R. PESCHOCK, Assistant Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,344,950 October 3, 1967 Richard W. Erickson It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.
Column 3, line 70, for "three" read there column 4, ilne 72, for "members" read means line 75, after "web" insert the Signed and sealed this 22nd day of October 1968.
EDWARD J. BRENNER Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer