US 3391816 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 9, 1968 J. B. SWETT LUNCH BOX WITH SLIDABLE DIVIDER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 4, 1966 FIG.|
Y m T M W m w NA 8 0% S E A J Y DD July 9, 1968 J. B. SWETT LUNCH BOX WITH SLIDABLE DIVIDER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Nov. 4, 1966 INVENTOR.
JAMES B. SWETT BY FIG.4
ATTORNEY United States Patent M 3,391,816 LUNCH BOX WITH SLIDABLE DIVIDER James B. Swett, Barrington, R.I., assignor to Rexall Drug and Chemical Company, Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of'Delaware Filed Nov. 4, 1966, Ser. No. 592,003 Claims. (Cl. 220-22) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a container and more particularly to a container and lid structure. The container of this invention is capable of being compartmentalized so as to present container portions of variable size dependent upon the positioning of a slidable divider member along the opposed sidewalls thereof.
Containers such as the type here under consideration are frequently utilized for the storage of foodstuff and related items wherein it is often desirable to store therein various type foods which are desirably kept separate from each other. Accordingly, the present invention presents a construction whereby a container is provided with a central divider member whereupon the relative positioning of such divider member in relationship to the side and end walls thereof provides compartments of varying size. Such a concept gives a greater amount of flexibility and utility to containers of the present type which accordingly have usefulness further as lunch boxes.
It is also desirable to provide an effective barrier between the varying size compartments of the present container so as to reduce the possible spillage therebetween if such stored material be of a liquid nature and to further reduce the amount of possible odor transmittal from a material stored in one compartment to a material stored in the other. Thus, the present construction provides a slidable member which is in substantially full contact with the sidewalls and bottom of the container in the lateral plane of its positioning and additionally in contact along the upper surface thereof with a cover member common to both of such containers compartments. Accordingly, an effective seal is provided between the two compartments of the present container.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a container primarily for the storage of foodstuffs and the like whereby said container can be divided into variable sized compartments and wherein an effective separator is provided between such compartments of a relatively uncomplicated and simple structural nature which is capable of relatively low cost and high tolerance manufacture from plastic material such as by injection molding procedures.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a storage container for foodstuffs and the like whereby separate compartments are provided therein by means of a movable and slidable separator member having at either side thereof a concave flange configuration whereby movement to either side of a generally central longitudinal position along the sidewalls increases the pressure on such concave flanges and accordingly outwardly moves the side edges thereof into an increasingly flattened condition so as to increase their sidewall contacting area and accommodate narrower sidewall widths.
Other objects of the present invention will become apparent in the course of the following specification wherein the invention will appear more clearly from the 3,391,816 Patented July 9, 1968 following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing, by way of example, a preferred embodiment of the inventors concept.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the storage container of the present invention with the cover portion thereof removed and wherein two subsidiary containers of generally equal proportion are shown thereto;
FIGURE 2 is a central sectional view along the line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the container shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings wherein the subsidiary containers have been removed;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the divider member taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIGURE 5 is a partial plan view on an enlarged scale of a portion of the slidable member and shows in particular, the relationship of its flexible fingers when in a generally central location along the sidewalls of the container;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged partial plan view of the container shown in FIG. 3 of the drawing similar to that depicted in FIG. 5, except that the slidable member is shown in a non-central position proximate the endwalls of the container such as depicted by the dotted lines in FIG. 3; and
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged partial sectional view of the divider member taken along line 77 of FIG. 1 and showing the relationship of the subsidiary containers in respect to the slidable member.
Throughout the specification, like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts.
Referring to the drawings, and more particularly FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, the container device 10 of the present invention comprises a container or base 11, a slidable divider member 12 and a cover or lid portion 13. One or more of subsidiary containers 14 may be further placed within the primary container 11 in a manner and through a constructional relationship which will be hereinafter more apparent.
The container, or base 11, is comprised of a generally rectangular bottom member 15 having a raised peripheral supporting bead 16. The container 11 is further provided with sidewalls 17 which are in opposed relationship to each other and of a relatively long extent in comparison to the endwalls '18 interspaced therebetween and which serve as interconnections therewith. Both the sidewalls 17 and the endwalls 18 are preferably upwardly and slightly outwardly disposed for ease in receipt of the slidable member -12 and the container lid 13 as will hereinafter be more apparent. The sidewalls 17 and the endwalls 18 upwardly terminate in a peripheral rim 19 which is sealingly engaged by a downwardly opening U-shaped peripheral rim 19a of the container lid 13. The sealing engagement is such that materials and particularly foodstuffs may be placed therein for essentially air tight storage.
It should be noted that the sidewalls 17 are slightly outwardly bowed at their central position such as shown in particular by the FIG. 3 plan view of the drawings. Thus, the width between the sidewalls 17 is slightly greater at the central longitudinal location thereof than is such proximate the endwalls 18 of the container 11.
The divider member 12 is generally comprised of an upstanding central member or plate 20, which is imperforate and upwardly terminates along a generally straight top wall portion or edge 21. Thus the top edge 21 of the plate 20 is adapted to engage the underside of the lid 13 when such slidable member 12 is placed between the sidewalls 17 in a manner as particularly shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings. Thus with such construction the container 11 is substantially divided into two separate subsidiary 3 compartments in which foodstuffs of diflering consistency or material may be stored in segregated position within a common container and lid sealing structure.
The slidable member 12 is also provided at the base thereof with opposed foot segments 22 which extend normally outwardly from either side of the plate member 20 at the bottom thereof and accordingly serve to support the member 12 in upright condition upon the bottom 15 of the container 11. The foot segments 22- terminate slightly before the opposite terminal points of the bot tom edge of the plate member 20 so as to prevent a possible interference of such with the side flange members which shall hereinafter be described when such flange members are inwardly flexed or flattened against the sidewalls 17.
The slidable member 12 is further provided with side flange members 23 at each side thereof which flange members are of an outwardly concave configuration about their vertical axis when viewed from above as in the plan views set forth in FIGS. 3 and of the drawings; Each flange 23 is comprised of a pair of adjacent flexible segments or fingers 24 which are each outwardly and side'- wardly curved and which in cooperation with each other form a face 25 for contact with the inner portions of the sidewalls 17. Referring now particularly to FIG. 5 of the drawings, the slidable member 12 is shown in a general central position along the longitudinal extent of the sidewalls -17. Accordingly, the face 25 thereof contactingly engages inner portions of the sidewalls 17 along two spaced vertical zones or lines formed by the contact therewith by the outermost points of the laterally extending fingers 24. As the slidable member 12 is moved increasingly towards either of the endwalls 18 and away from the central location thereof along the sidewalls 17, the space between the sidewalls 17 narrows and accordingly greater pressure is applied to the lateral extending fingers 24 of the flange 23 which forces such fingers inwardly. This action thus reduces the extent of the concavity of the flanges 23 and presents a greater amount of surface 25 in contact with the sidewalls 17. When the member 12 is proximate either of the endwalls 18 as depicted by the dotted lines in FIG. 3 of the drawings, the face 25 is in substantially complete contact with the sidewalls 17 and the fingers 24 of the flange 23 are inwardly flexed to their full extent.
This above construction affords the maintenance of a tight and secure engagement of the flanges 23 against the sidewalls 17 of the container 11 regardless of the position in which the slidable member 12 is placed. Thus by providing flanges having flexible fingers which are always in contact with the sidewalls 71 regardless, within limits, of the varying width therebetween, the engaging force between the member 12 and the container 11 is substantially of a contacting force necessary to positively position such in relation to the sidewalls 17. The slidable member 12 is preferably made of a stiffer material which although flexible is less distortable than the material from which the container 11 is fabricated. Suitable materials for the divider member 12 would be high density polyethylene, polypropylene or similar copolymeric materials. The container 11 is preferably formed of a low or medium density polyethylene which is slightly more flexible than the material from which the slidable member is made and also exhibits the characteristic of being slightly locally distortable.
Turning now to FIG. 7 of the drawings, an additional feature of the invention is shown wherein the divider member 12v is positioned in a generally central'location. In such location, smaller subsidiary containers 14 may be placed within the parent container -11 on either side of the member 12. In such position the supporting feet 22 of the plate 20 of the member 12 extended outwardly I on either side thereof an d accordingly positionedben'eath the bases of the subsidiary containers 14, as shown. The subsidiary containers thus tend to stabilize the positioning of the slidable member and the slidable member in turn stabilizes the positioningof the subsidiarycontainers when the container 11 is subjected to general storage conditions such as handling. Also, onesubsidiarycontainer may be removed whereupon the slidable member 12 serves to stabilize the positioning of such subsidiary container so that such will not slide across the bottom 15 of the container 11 and possibly damageor disturb the material present in the opposite compartment.
It is believed, therefore,'that the present invention provides a storage container which has increased utility'inasmuch as such may be divided into subsidiary compartments of varying size in a simple and easily constructed manner as hereinbefore set forth. While there is'above disclosed a preferred embodiment of the present storage container, it is possible to produce other embodiments without departing from the inventive concept herein disclosed and as set forth in the following claims:
v I claim:
1. A scalable storage container of substantially rectangular configuration comprising a pair of similarly shaped side walls in opposed relationship to each other, said sidewalls being interconnected to each other by end walls and a bottom wall, said sidewalls being transversely outwardly centrally bowed away from each otherso as form a container of an intermediately greater width, said side walls and end walls adapted to form a tight seal with a cover therefor, and an upright imperforate divider member having an upright flange at either side thereof, each of said flanges being of a vertically concave configu-v ration and comprising side finger portions laterally extending from each other, said divider member being freely positionable between said sidewalls longitudinally thereof from a generally central position wherein only the outer portions of said fingers are in contact with said sidewalls to positions increasingly proximate said endwalls wherein said fingers are proportionately increasingly inwardly flattened by said sidewalls into increasingly greater contact therewith.
2. A storage container according to claim 1, further comprising a closure adapted to form a tight seal with said container.
3. A storage container according to claim 2,.wherein said closure and said divider contact along the entire lateral extent of said divider between said sidewalls.
4. A storage container according to claim 2, wherein the walls of said container terminate in an outwardly flared peripheral rim and said closure terminates in a downwardly opening U-shaped peripheral rim adapted to engage the rim of said container in tight sealingrelationship. I
5. A storage container according to claim 1, wherein said divider has a foot segment on the lower edge thereof said foot segment being formed as a flange normal to the main wall of said divider, said flange providing stable resting support for said divider. 4 v
References Cited THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner. G. E. LQWRANCE, Assistant Examiner.