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Publication numberUS3403788 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 1, 1968
Filing dateOct 3, 1966
Priority dateOct 3, 1966
Publication numberUS 3403788 A, US 3403788A, US-A-3403788, US3403788 A, US3403788A
InventorsKreeger Elsmer W
Original AssigneePinckney Molded Plastics
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nest and stack trays
US 3403788 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 1, 1968 l w, KREEGER 3,403,788

NEST AND STACK TRAYS 7 Filed Oct. 5, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 le 22 54 2s INVENTOR. ELSMER w. KREEGER ATTORNEYS 1968 E. w. KREEGER 3,403,788

NEST AND STACK TRAYS Filed Oct. 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 I K so 5 FIG.4

INVENTOR ELSMER W. KREEGER my BY MW @1440,

ATTORNEYS Elsmer W.

Patented Oct. 1, 1968 3,403,788 NEST .AND STACK TRAYS Kreeger, Orchard Lake, Mich., assignor by mesne assignments to Pinckney Molded Plastics, Inc., Pinckney, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed Oct. 3, 1966, Ser. No. 583,732 8 Claims. (Cl. 211-126) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates generally to containers or trays and refers more particularly to relatively shallow containers or trays of the nesting and stacking type.

It is an essential object of this invention to provide a tray of the nesting and stacking type, that is, a tray which is capable of nesting when empty with other trays of the same construction in a compact group which takes up relatively little space, and is also capable of being stacked when filled with material upon trays of the same construction in a manner such that the material in the trays will not be crushed.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved tray which is adapted to'nest with a similarly oriented lower tray of identical construction or to stack thereon upon being reversed end-for-end.

Another object is to provide a nesting and stacking tray which is especially adapted to be stacked upon 'a reversely oriented lower tray of identical construction by being moved across the lower tray with a sliding motion into a superimposed position.

Another object is to provide .a tray having a bottom, upright structures projecting upwardly from opposite edges of the bottom, and clearances in the bottom so located that when the tray is nested with a similarly oriented tray of identical construction the upright structures of the latter may project upwards through the clearances.

Another object is to provide a tray construction in which the clearances are in the form of elongated slots extending along the opposite edges of the tray.

Another object is to provide a tray wherein one or both sides thereof are open so that when a number of trays are stacked the contents are readily accessible.

Another object is to provide a tray wherein the upright structures each comprise an inverted generally U-shaped frame disposed in a'plane normal to the bottom and having downwardly diverging legs, such upright structures being adapted to extend up into the slots in the bottom of an upper nested tray and to fit within the frames of the upper tray. Another object is to provide a tray having abutment means adjacent opposite edges of the bottom and seating means on the frames, the abutment means adjacent each edge of the bottom being directly opposed to but in a lower plane than the seating means on the frame at the other edge of the bottom, whereby the seating means will engage and support the abutment means of a reversely oriented upper container, of identical construction in stacked relation thereon.

Other objects and features of the invention will become apparent as the description proceeds, especially when United States Patent Oflice taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a tray constructed in accordance with my invention.

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view, with parts broken away, of the tray shown in FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is an end view showing three trays, the top tray being nested with the middle tray and the middle tray being stacked upon the bottom tray.

FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 as seen from the opposite end of the nested and stacked trays.

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view, the left end being taken on the line 55 in FIGURE 3 and the right end being taken on the line 5-5 in FIGURE 4.

FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary perspective view showing an upper tray in an intermediate position as it is being moved across the top of a lower tray to stacked position.

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of one corner of a tray shown stacked upon a lower tray.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings, the tray is of generally rectangular form and is designated by the numeral 10. All of the trays shown in the various views are of identical construction. The tray 10 has a rectangular horizontal bottom wall 12. Vertical retainer walls 14, 16, 18 and 20 extend upwardly from the four marginal edges of the bottom. These retainer walls are not high, extending only an inch or two above the bottom wall, but serve to retain material on the bottom wall. The retainer walls 14-20 are, of course, connected to one another at their ends. The tray also has the ends 22 and 24 at the opposite ends of the bottom which project upwardly above the plane of the bottom at right angles thereto. End 22 extends along the retainer wall 14 in parallel relation thereto, and end 24 extends along the retainer wall 18 in parallel relation thereto.

The bottom of the tray may be considered as including the bottom wall 12, retainer walls 14-20 and the bases 26 and 44 of the ends 22 and 24.

End 22 has an elongated base 26 which extends along the retainer wall 14 in spaced parallel relation thereto. At the ends, base 26 has connection portions 28 which extend at right angles thereto and are joined to the side retainer walls 16 and 20. The inner surface 29 of base 26 together with its connection portions 28 and with the retainer wall 14 define an elongated narrow generally rectangular slot or clearance 30 which extends for substantially the full width of the tray.

The end 22 also has an upright structure 31 including an inverted generally U-shaped frame 32 which projects upwardly from the base 26 in a plane which is normal to the bottom wall 12. The frame 32 has an elongated rail portion 34 which extends parallel to the base 26. Frame 32 also has the downwardly diverging legs 36 connected at their lower ends to the base 26 beyond opposite ends of slot 30. The frame 32 is disposed directly above slot 30. In other words, a vertical projection of the frame 32 would pass through the slot 30, excepting of course for those portions of the legs 36 which extend beyond the ends of the slot (see FIGURES 2 and 5). In accordance with this construction, it is possible to nest two trays of identical construction by passing the frame 32 of a lower tray upwardly through the slot 30 of an upper tray, as will become more apparent as the description proceeds.

The base 26 has three spaced feet 38 along its inner surface 29 projecting into the slot 30. The rail 34 forming a part of the frame 32 has a pair of spaced seats 40 on its outer surface. The feet 38 and seats 40 are inclined upwardly and outwardly preferably at an angle of substantially 20 as shown in FIGURE 5.

The rail 34 in narrower than the slot 30, and as seen in FIGURE 2 its vertical projection is spaced frorntheinner surface 29 of base 26 a distance greater than the width of feet 38 or of seats 40. Moreover, feet 38 and seats 40 are laterally offset or staggered relative to one another. Obviously, therefore, the frame 32 of a lower tray could be passed upwards through the slot 30 of an upper nested tray without interference of the feet 38 and seats 40 with each other or with the slot. Additional legs 41 of frame 32 extend from the inner or adjacent ends of the seats downwardly in diverging relation and connect into the inner slot forming surface 29 of the base 26. These legs 41 are thin enough to pass through the slot 30 of an upper nested tray, as will be clear from FIGURE 2. The seats 40 have upwardly extending abutments 43 at their remote ends to restrict relative transverse movement of two stacked trays, as will be more apparent hereinafter.

End 24 has an elongated base 44 which extends along the retainer wall 18 in spaced parallel relation thereto. At the ends, base 44 has connection portions 46 which extend at right angles thereto and are joined to the side retainer walls 16 and 20. The inner surface 47 of base 44 together with its connection portions 46 and with the retainer wall 18 define an elongated narrow, generally rectangular slot or clearance 48 which extends for substantially the full width of the tray.

The end 24 also has an upright structure 49 including an inverted, generally U-shaped frame 58' which projects upwardly from the base 44 in a plane which is normal to the bottom wall 12. The frame 50 has an elongated rail portion 52 which extends parallel to the base 44. Frame 50 also has the downwardly diverging legs 54 connected at their lower ends to the base 44 beyond opposite ends of slot 48. The frame 50 is disposed directly above slot 48. In other words, a vertical projection of the frame 50 would pass through the slot 30, except for those portions of legs 54 which extend beyond the ends of the slot (see FIGS. 2 and In accordance with this construction, it is possible to nest two trays of identical construction by passing the frame 50 of a lower tray upwardly through the slot 48 of an upper tray.

The base 44 has two spaced feet 56 along its inner surface 47 projecting into the slot 48. The rail 52 forming a part of frame 50 has three spaced seats 58 on its outer surface. The feet 56 and seats 58 are inclined upwardly and outwardly preferably at an angle of substantially 20 as shown in FIGURE 5.

The rails 52 is narrow that the slot 48, and as seen in FIGURE 2 its vertical projection is spaced from the inner surface 47 of base 44 a distance greater than the width of feet 56 or of seats 58. Moreover, feet 56 and seat 58 are laterally offset or staggered relative to one another. Obviously, therefore, the frame 50 of a lower tray could be passed upwards through the slot 48 of an upper nested tray without interference of the feet 56 and seats 58 with each other or with the slot. Additional legs 60 of frame 50 extend downwardly in diverging relation and connect into the inner slot forming surface 47 of the base 44. These legs 60 are thin enough to pass through the slot 48 of an upper nested tray,

- as will be clear from FIGURE 2. Two seats 58 have upwardly extending abutments 62 at their remote ends to restrict relative transverse movement of two stacked trays. The abutments actually are continuations of the legs 54.

In use, the trays may be nested one with another in the manner illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4. For nesting, the trays are similarly oriented, and the upright structures 31 and 49 of the lower tray project upwards through the slots 30 and 48 of the upper tray (see upper two trays in FIGURES 3 and 4). The frames 32 and 50 of the lower tray are confined within the frames 32 and 50 of the upper tray. There is no interference between the legs 36,41, 54 a'ndkli, seamen he drv'a' a saa tionthereof. The seats 'along the upper rails 34 andH52 of each frame pass through the slots 30 and 48 without interference either with theslots or with the feet 38 and 56 along the bases 26 and 44.

When it is desired to'stack the trays one upon another as shown in FIGURES 3 and 4,the upper tray is turned end-for-end relative to the lower tray so as to be 'reversely o'rientedwith respect thereto, and then is lowered to permit the feet 38 on the upper tray to engage and rest upon the seats 58 011. the lower tray, and the feet 56 on the upper tray to engage and rest upon the seats 40 on the lower tray. The seat abutments 43' and 62 are engageable with the feet to prevent any transverse movement, that is left and right in FIGURES 3 and 4, between stacked trays. The rails 34 and 52 of the lower tray are received in the slots of the upper tray to prevent any relative longitudinal movement between the two trays. The fact that the feet 38, 56 are slanted upwardly and outwardly preferably at substantially a 20 angle and the seats 40, 58"upon which they-rest are slanted upwardly and'outwardly at'the same angle provides an interlocking relationship which also is effective in preventing relative longitudinal movement between the stacked trays.

It is sometimes necessary to stack trays by sliding the upper tray over the lower tray until the feet of the upper tray engage the seats of the lower tray. In other words, it may not be practical or convenient simply to lower the upper tray upon the lower tray where, for example, the trays have already been stacked'to a considerable height. In such instances, it is desirable to be able to place an edge of one tray upon the rails of another and then to simply slide the upper tray transversely (right or left in FIGURES 3 and 4) until it has reached a position in which it is stacked. In this connection, it will be noted that at each corner of the tray, that is, at the two ends of each base 26, 44 there is a depending foot 65 which providesan upwardly extending and downwardly opening recess 67 between the foot and the adjacent end of one of the side retainer walls 16, 20. It will also be noted that throughout the full length of each rail, the upper edge thereof is narrow and straight except at the ends and defines an elongated track 68. The tracks 68 are horizontal and at the ends curve downwardly and merge into the legs 36 and 54. When it is found necessary or desirable to stack trays from the side, the leading side of the upper tray will be manipulated so that the recesses 67 engage the tracks 68 of the lower tray, and then the upper tray is slid transversely across the tracks. The upper tray is shown in FIGURE 6 in an intermediate position moving across the lower tray to a stacked position. When the upper tray has moved to a superimposed position directly above the lower tr-ay, its slots 30 and 48 will receive the rails 34 and 52 of the lower tray and the upper tray will drop until its feet 38, 56 engage and rest upon the seats 40, 58 of the lower tray. When stacked, the upper tray is held from transverse movement relative to the lower tray by the abutments 43 and 62, and is held from longitudinal movement relative to the lower tray by the sides of slots 30 and 48. The slanted feet 38, 56 and seats 40, 58 also serve in preventing longitudinal movement.

It is also sometimes necessary to nest trays by sliding the upper tray over the lower tray in the same manner employed to stack trays. In other words, when nesting two trays the leading side of theupper tray is manipulated so that the recesses 67 of feet 65 engage tracks 68 of the lower tray, and then theupper tray is slid transversely across the tracks. When the upper-tray has moved to a superimposed position directly overthe lower tray, its slots 30 and 48 will receive the rails'34 and 52 of the lower similarly oriented tray and the upper tray will drop to a nested position.

It will be noted that in the stacked position of the trays, they are open both at the front and at the rear, that is, along the edges defined by the retainer walls 16 and 20. These retainer walls extend only about an inch or so above the bottom wall 12 of the tray to prevent the articles on the tray from slipping off, but provide little if any obstruction to the removal of the articles from the tray either from the front or rear. It will be understood, of course, that where desired the retainer walls 16 and 20 may be built to greater heights, even to the height of frames 32 and 50.

What I claim as my invention is:

1. A nesting and stacking container comprising a bottom, upright structures projecting upwardly from points adjacent opposite edges of said bottom, said container having clearances directly vertically beneath said upright structures extending downward through the plane of said bottom so that said container nests with a vertically aligned similarly oriented lower container of identical construction by a direct vertical movement and when so nested the upright structures of the latter will project upwardly into said clearances, said container having stacking means for supporting the same in stacked position upon a vertically aligned reversely oriented lower container of identical construction, said stacking means comprising abutment means and seating means adjacent each of said opposite edges, said abutment means adjacent each one of said opposite edges being directly opposed to but in a lower plane than said seating means adjacent the other one of said opposite edges whereby said seating means will engage and support the abutment means of a reversely oriented upper container of identical construction in stacked relation thereon, said abutment means adjacent each one of said opposite edges being laterally offset from said seating means adjacent the same one of said opposite edges whereby said abutment means of said container will clear the seating means of a similarly oriented lower container of identical construction when lowered directly vertically into nested relation with the latter.

2. The container defined in claim 1, wherein said container is open along the sides between said upright structures so that material in a stacked container is readily accessible.

3. The container defined in claim 1, wherein said upright structures each include a generally horizontal track extending generally parallel to said opposite edges of said bottom in spaced relation above said bottom, said container having guiding means on the bottom engageable with said tracks of another container of identical construction so that an upper one of said containers can be slid across a lower one of said containers laterally to a stacked or nested position by slidably engaging the guiding means on the upper container with the tracks of the lower container.

4. The container defined in claim 1, wherein said upright structures each comprise an inverted generally U- shaped frame disposed in a plane normal to said bottom and having downwardly diverging legs.

5. The container defined in claim 4, wherein said clearances include slots in said bottom aligned with and directly vertically beneath said frames.

6. The container defined in claim 5', wherein said abutment means adjacent one of said opposite edges comprises at least two laterally spaced feet and adjacent the other of said opposite edges at least one foot, and said seating means adjacent said one of said opposite edges comprises at least one seat and adjacent the other of said opposite edges at least two seats.

7. The container defined in claim 6, wherein said seats are located on said frames and said feet are located on said bottom within said slots.

8. A nesting and stacking container comprising a bottom, upright structures projecting upwardly from opposite edges of said bottom, said bottom having clearances adjacent said opposite edges so located that when said container is nested with a similarly oriented container of identical construction the upright structures of the latter may project upward through said clearances, said container having stacking means for supporting the same in stacked relation upon a reversely oriented lower container of identical construction and for supporting upon the same in stacked relation a reversely oriented upper container of identical construction, said upright structures each comprising an inverted generally U-shaped frame disposed in a plane normal to said bottom and having downwardly diverging legs connected at their lower ends to said bottom and having a rail connecting the upper ends of said legs, said clearances being in the form of elongated slots parallel to and directly vertically beneath said frames, said stacking means comprising abutment means adjacent said opposite edges of said bottom and seating means on said frames, said abutment means adjacent one edge being directly opposed to but in a lower plane than said seating means on the frame at the other edge, whereby said seating means will engage and support the abutment means of a reversely oriented upper container of identical construction in stacked relation thereon, said abutment means adjacent each opposite edge of said bottom and said seating means on the frame at the same edge of said bottom being vertically aligned with the slot adjacent the same edge of said bottom but laterally offset with respect to one another so as to permit nesting with a similarly oriented container of identical construction, said abutment means at one edge of said bottom comprising at least two laterally spaced feet and at the opposite edge of said bottom at least one foot, said seating means on the frame at said one edge of said bottom comprising at least one seat and on the frame at said opposite edge of said bottom at least two seats, said rails of said frames constituting generally horizontal tracks, said tracks being parallel to one another, said container having guiding means on the bottom engageable with said tracks of another container of identical construction so that an upper one of said containers can be slid across a lower one of said containers laterally to a stacked or nested position by slidably engaging the guiding means of the upper container with the tracks of the lower container, said container being open along the sides between said frames so that material in a stacked container is readily accessible.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,940,602 6/ 1960 Lockwood 220-97 2,970,714 2/ 1961 Glezen 220-97 3,100,582 8/1963 Lockwood 211-126 XR 3,245,548 4/ 1966 Kesilman et a1. 211-126 XR ROY D. FRAZIER, Prim'ary Examiner. WILLIAM D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2940602 *Feb 21, 1957Jun 14, 1960Lockwood Warren HTierable and nestable receptacle
US2970714 *Dec 21, 1959Feb 7, 1961Mid West Metallic Prod IncWire receptacle construction
US3100582 *Jan 4, 1960Aug 13, 1963Lockwood Warren HTierable and nestable receptacle
US3245548 *Mar 12, 1964Apr 12, 1966Green Valley Products IncCommercial dish washer rack
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3481507 *May 9, 1968Dec 2, 1969Pinckney Molded PlasticsNest and stack container
US3971629 *Feb 3, 1975Jul 27, 1976The Quaker Oats CompanyRetorting tray
US4000817 *May 8, 1974Jan 4, 1977Pinckney Molded Plastics, Inc.Three level stacking container
US4226192 *Jan 5, 1979Oct 7, 1980Myers Douglas RPallet for transporting and displaying merchandise
US4671411 *Jan 3, 1986Jun 9, 1987Rehrig Pacific CompanyNestable open case
EP0721893A1 *Dec 21, 1995Jul 17, 1996Festo Tooltechnic KGContainer with tray system for storing objects
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/126.2, 211/126.7, 206/507
International ClassificationB65D21/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/045
European ClassificationB65D21/04D2