US 3392874 A
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CONTAINER STACK WITH COMMON CARRYING HANDLE Filed April 11, 1967 July 16, 1968 D. M. PEEBLES 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR DAVID MEADE PEEBLES 3 V WWW. L
ATTORNEY Jilly 1968 D. M. PEEBLES 3,392,374
CONTAINER STACK WITH COMMON CARRYING HANDLE Filed April 11. 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR DAVID MEADE PEEBLES ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,392,874 CONTAINER STACK WITH COMMON CARRYING HANDLE David Meade Peebles, 325 Marcy Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. 20021 Filed Apr. 11, 1967, Ser. No. 630,086 6 Claims. (Cl. 22097) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A stack of separately formed containers each provided with a carrying handle and the handle so constructed that they collectively constitute a single carrying handle for the stack.
Background of the invention The need for the invention arises where miscellaneous small articles must be carried from place to place in an orderly manner and maintained separated. Maintenance personnel in apartments, hotels, hospitals and the like, must carry small parts and various tools on their daily rounds. In the prior art various wheeled carts and elaborate tool boxes with hinged and removable shelves have been provided. However, these are usually expensive devices and heavy to carry and sometimes quite awkward. It is the purpose of the present invention to provide a simplified and inexpensive structure to satisfy the above need.
Summary The invention is embodied in a plurality of nestable or stackable open-topped, tray-like containers which may be compartmented individually. Each container has a carrying handle projecting upwardly from its bottom and the handles of the several containers in the stack are successively shorter toward the top of the stack and project through openings in the overlying containers so that at the top of the stack a single carrying handle is formed for transporting the entire stack. The utility of the individual containers is not lost and they are readily separable for individual use or in sub-groups.
Brief description of the drawings FIGURE 1 is a perspective view showing a stack of containers with common carrying handle embodying the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a vertical section taken substantially on line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a plan view of a single container and its carrying handle;
FIGURE 4 is a vertical section taken on line 4-4 of FIGURE 3; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary perspective view partly in section showing a modification.
Description of the preferred embodiments Referring to the drawings, wherein like numerals designate like parts, attention being directed first to FIGURES 1 through 4, the numeral designates preferably identical open top rectangular tray-like receptacles, such as molded plastic receptacles or receptacles formed of pressed fiber, sheet metal or the like. As shown in the drawings, the individual receptacles 10 are nestable or stackable and to facilitate this they preferably have a slight degree of taper toward their lower ends. To increase the rigidity of the receptacles they are preferably provided with upper marginal beads or flanges 11. To limit the entry of the bottom portion of each receptacle 10 into the next underlying receptacle, stop lugs 12 are preferably formed within the corners of the individual receptacles somewhat below the tops thereof. If preferred,
3,392,874 Patented July 16, 1968 similar stop lugs may be formed externally on the sidewalls of the receptacles as suggested in dotted lines at 12' in FIGURE 2.
Each receptacle 10 has a center longitudinal divider wall 13 integral therewith and being hollow and substantially inverted U-shaped in cross-section as shown. This divides each tray-like receptacle into two main carrying compartments 14 for various items. The top wall portion of each divider wall 13 has a relatively large central opening 15 formed therethrough to receive the handle of the receptacle to be described as well as the handles of all other receptacles in the stack.
Referring particularly to FIGURES 3 and 4, each receptacle 10 has an upstanding carrying handle 16 which may be formed of plastic, wood or any other preferred material. Preferably, although not necessarily, each handle 16 is formed separately from its associated receptacle 10 and is readily detachable therefrom. However, if preferred, the handle 16 may be formed integrally with the receptacle or otherwise permanently secured thereto.
As shown in the drawings, each handle has an upright portion 17, provided near its top with a hand-grip opening 18. The upright portion 17 of each handle is received upwardly through the opening 15 of divider wall 13. Each handle further comprises a pair of laterally extending arms or portions 19 which are received through the open bottom of the hollow divider wall 13 and engage the top wall portion thereof, as shown. The lengths of the arms 19 are such that they extend for substantially the entire length of the receptacle 10 and engage the opposite end walls thereof. Preferably, the ends of the arms 19 have frictional contact with the end walls 20 of the receptacle 10 to stabilize the assembly of the handle with the receptacle, although this feature is not essential. Each handle 16 is preferably quite thin as shown in the drawings so that a number of the handles may be arranged in side-by-side cont-acting relation to form a single stack carrying handle.
As shown most clearly in FIGURE 2, the carrying handle 16 of each receptacle 10 differs in length from the handle of every other receptacle in the stack. The lowermost receptacle 10 in the stack is equipped with the longest handle 16a whereas the uppermost receptacle in the stack is equipped with the shortest carrying handle 16c. The handles of the intermediate receptacles in the stack are graduated in length as shown at 16b, 16c and 16d. The basic construction of each handle 16a through 162 is the same as that depicted in FIGURE 4 and each handle has a pair of the arms 19 for engagement within the hollow divider wall 13 of its associated receptacle, to facilitate lifting the same. As shown in FIGURE 2, the carrying handle of each receptacle is sufficiently long to project upwardly through the clearance openings 15 of all of the receptacles above it in the stack. That is to say, the handle 16a of the lowermost receptacle in the stack extends through all of the openings 15 of the receptacles above it in the stack. The handle 16b likewise extends through all of the openings 15 in the receptacles above it, and so on. In this connection, it should be clear that any practical number of receptacles may be utilized in the stack, limited only by the ability of the openings or slots 15 to receive a plurality of the handles in side-by-side relationship. The arrangement is such that When the several receptacles are nested or stacked as shown, the hand-grip openings 18 of the several handles will register within the top receptacle 10 so as to form a common or single carrying handle for the entire stack which is convenient to grasp. By this means the stack of receptacles and their contents may be carried like any piece of luggage from place to place. The bottom wall of each receptacle in the stack forms a secure closure for the compartments 14 of the next underlying receptacle. All of the receptacles in the stack are readily separable with their individual handles at any desired time.
As suggested at 21 in broken lines in FIGURE 4, the upright portions 17 of the carrying handles may be equipped with two or more of the hand-grip openings 18 in vertically spaced relation. With proper spacing of the openings this arrangement will allow the use of a smaller group or stack of receptacles than the complete stack shown in FIGURE 2. For example, a stack consisting of the first, third, and fifth receptacles only might be employed, counting from bottom to top. This is an optional feature contemplated within the scope of the invention, which may be omitted entirely if preferred.
FIGURE shows a modification of the invent-ion wherein each carrying handle 22 consists essentially of a section of resilient wire or the like having an inverted U-shaped hand-grip portion 23 and bottom lateral extensions 24 which are engageable within inverted U-shaped sockets 25 formed in the bottom wall 26 of the tray-like receptacle 27. The bottom wall 26 also has a central longitudinal slot 28 formed therethrough to receive the upstanding handle 22 or handles of underlying receptacles in a stack. The modified receptacle 29 shown in FIGURE 5 is equipped with the previously described stacking lugs 12 as indicated.
As shown in broken lines in FIGURE 5, the resilient handle 22 may have its arms flexed to assemble and disassemble the handles with respect to the sockets 25. The mode of operation in connection with a complete stack of receptacles is essentially the same as that described in the previous embodiment, that is to say, the handle of each underlying receptacle in the stack is sufficiently long in the vertical direction to extend upwardly through the openings or slots 28 of all overlying receptacles in the stack so as to provide a common lifting handle structure at the top of the stack generally as depicted in FIGURES 1 and 2.
It is to be understood that the forms of the invention, herewith shown and described, are to be taken as preferred examples of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the subjoined claims.
1. A hand-carried receptacle structure comprising a plurality of separately formed open top tray-like receptacles adapted to be nested in stacked relation, each receptacle in the stack having opening means in its bottom wall and the opening means of all receptacles in the stack being vertically aligned, and a carrying handle secured to each receptacle, the handles of the several receptacles differing in length with the handle of the lowermost receptacle in the stack being the longest and the handle of the uppermost receptacle being the shortest, whereby the handles of all receptacles in the stack may project upwardly through the opening means of all overlying receptacles in the stack so as to form a common carrying handle for the stack adjacent the uppermost receptacle.
2. A hand-carried receptacle structure according to claim 1, wherein said opening means of each receptacle is a hollow divider wall for the receptacle having a central opening formed through the top wall portion thereof.
3. A hand-carried receptacle structure according to claim 2, and wherein each carrying handle comprises an upstanding portion having a hand-grip opening adapted to project through said central opening and a pair of lateral arms on the lower end of the handle engageable under said hollow divider wall.
4. A hand-carried stack of receptacles comprising in combination, a plurality of stacked open top tray-like receptacles with each receptacle of the stack forming a closure for the top of the next underlying receptacle of the stack, and an upstanding carrying handle for each receptacle projecting upwardly through all overlying receptacles in the stack, said receptacles all having clearance openings formed therethrough for said handles and said handles decreasing in length from the lowermost receptacle of the stack toward the uppermost receptacle, the tops of all of the handles terminating substantially at the top of the stack and forming a common handle structure substantially at the top of the stack.
5. A hand-carried stack of receptacles in accordance with claim 4, and wherein each carrying handle is a flat relatively thin plate-like member formed separately from the receptacle and being detachable therefrom, each handle having at least one hand-grip opening near its upper end.
6. A hand-carried stack of receptacles in accordance with claim 4, and wherein each carrying handle is a re silient substantially inverted U-shaped member including a carrying loop and lateral terminal end portions having releasable socketed engagement with the associated receptacle of the stack.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,821,327 1/1958 Glazer 220-102 3,115,266 12/1963 Poupitch 220-l02 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,059,418 2/1967 Great Britain.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
G. E. LOWRANCE, Assistant Examiner.