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Publication numberUS3405835 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 15, 1968
Filing dateFeb 11, 1964
Priority dateFeb 11, 1964
Publication numberUS 3405835 A, US 3405835A, US-A-3405835, US3405835 A, US3405835A
InventorsEby Charles M
Original AssigneeCharles M. Eby
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aluminum knock-down collapsible container
US 3405835 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 15, 1968 c. M. EBY 3,405,835

ALUMINUM KNOCK-DOWN COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed Feb. 11, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet l Char/e5 M. [by INVENTOR.

Oct. 15, 1968 c. M. EBY 3,405,835

ALUMINUM KNOCK-DOWN COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed Feb. 11. 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Oct. 15, 1968 c. M. EBY


Oct. 15, 1968 c. M. EBY 3,405,835


5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG. l2

FIG. l3

United States Patent 3,405,835 ALUMINUM KN OCK-DOWN COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Charles M. Eby, Easthampton, N.Y. (R0. Box 142, Montauk Point, N.Y. 11954) Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 787,569,

Jan. 19, 1959. This application Feb. 11, 1964, Ser.

4 Claims. (Cl. 2204) This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 787,569 to Charles M. Eby, filed Jan. 19, 1959, now abandoned.

This invention relates to knockdown containers generally and more particularly is concerned with a light-Weight knockdown type of container suitable for use in transporting articles and particularly adapted to air freight.

Many different types of knockdown containers and crates are commercially available for transporting goods but, so far as is known, none of these possess sufiicient ruggedness in combination with light-weight so as to make them satisfactory for use in air travel wherein the weight factor is an important consideration. As is well known, articles in transit are often subjected to bumps and jars occasioned by the movement of the carrying vehicle and in addition occasionally receive rather severe treatment during the loading and unloading of the vehicle. Such containers, while of necessity constructed of material having a minimum weight, are required to withstand substantial abuse and hence must be of strong and rugged construction.

The present invention provides a novel container possessing the desired light-weight and strength of construction which may be easily and readily assembled for transportation and which upon receipt at the destination may be completely collapsed and returned to the sender for reuse.

Unlike previously known containers, the container of this invention is formed from a plurality of individual parts which are constructed specifically to minimize weight; often at the sacrifice of individual strength. These parts, taken alone, are totally incapable of withstanding the normal stresses incurred by air shipping containers, but under the present invention they are combined under columnar compression to form a unitary structure capable of withstanding severe stress and shock. Through the phenomenon of columnar compression and the novel structural features of this container, the individually weak panel members of the container comprising a central honeycomb core terminating in lumber strips covered on each side with sheets of a strong light-weight metal such as aluminum are bonded into an extremely rigid, unitary unit. The four side panels are received in grooves along the edge of the bottom panel and include interleaved hinge fasteners along the four corners of the crate which operate to place the entire unit under columnar compres- 8101'].

It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a novel collapsible shipping container for use in air freight.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved collapsible container having light-weight and extreme rigidity when assembled.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a shipping container which may be readily assembled and collapsed and is suitable for reuse.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a collapsible shipping container having an improved lightweight panel construction which is placed under columnar compression to achieve unitary rigidity and extreme strength.

Patented Oct. 15, 1968 These and further objects and advantages of the invention will be more apparent upon reference to the specification, claims and appended drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the container of the present invention as assembled and ready for use;

FIGURE 2 is a partially broken away view of one of the end panels of the container of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a partial cross-section taken along the line 33 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a partial cross-section taken along line 44 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a partially broken away plan view of the bottom panel of the container shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 6 is a partial cross-section taken along the line 6-6 of FIGURE 5;

FIGURE 7 is a partial cross-section taken along line 77 of FIGURE 5;

FIGURE 8 is an enlarged view of the angle iron joint of the top panel or lid of the container of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 9 is a partially broken away view of the front panel of the container of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 10 is a partial cross-section taken along line 1010 of FIGURE 9;

FIGURE 11 is a partially broken away plan view of an embodiment of the bottom panel of the container of this invention;

FIGURE 12 is a partially broken away view in side elevation showing the torsion bar construction of the container of this invention; and

FIGURE 13 is a partial cross-section taken along line Ill-10 of FIGURE 9 showing a sealing lock employed with the present invention.

Referring to the drawings the collapsible container of the present invention generally indicated at 10 includes a front panel 12, a pair of end panels, one of which is indicated at 14, and a lid 16. The four upright panels of the container including front panel 12 and end panel 14 have formed along each vertical edge thereof a series of projecting leaf members adapted to inter-leave with corresponding members on the adjacent panel to form an inter-leaved hinged arrangement indicated at 18. The hinges 18 at the four corners of the crate are adapted to receive elongated vertical fasteners or rods as indicated at 138.

Front panel 12 provides access to the interior of the container and includes a lower section 22 and a second upper section 20 having a cutout door portion 21 hinged centrally of panel 12 to the lower section 22 by an elongated, unitary hinge indicated at 24. Suitable fastening means to be hereinafter described, are provided on the container for securing the door portion 21 of front panel 12 to lid 16. Door 21 is adapted to pivot about hinge 24 outwardly from the container to permit ready access to the contents enclosed Within the container, and is framed by the remainder of upper section 20 as indicated at 23.

FIGURES 2 through 4 illustrate the construction of the individual panels forming the ends and back wall of container 10. While this particular construction will be described with respect to the end panel 14, it will be understood that the construction of both the end panels is identical and that the back panel is of similar construction differing only in the overall length from the construction of each of the end panels. Hence, it will be understood that in FIGURES 2 through 4 the panel structure shown broken away through the center portion thereof in FIG- URE 2 may equally represent the construction of either of the end panels or the back panel of container 10.

Panel 14 consists of a central honeycomb core 26 of conventional construction forming the major portions of the panel 14. Honeycomb core 26 terminates along each vertical edge of the panel in a wood or lumber strip 28 and along the top and bottom edges of the panel in second 3 wood strips 30. The honeycomb core and terminating wood strips are encased by sheets 32 and 34 of suitable high strength, light-weight metal such as aluminum. Aluminum sheets 32 and 34 may be secured to the honeycomb core and terminating lumber strips by any of the well-known means and methods conventionally employed. A portion of front sheet 32 is broken away in FIGURE 2 to show the hexagonal configuration of the honeycomb core structure 25.

Affixed about terminating wood strip 28 to aluminum sheets 32 and 34 at each end of panel 14 are a pair of elongated U-shaped hinged leaves 36 and 38, with hinge leaf 36 shown in cross-section in FIGURE 3. Hinges 36 and 38 include a plurality of leaves 40 and 42 spaced along the edges of panel 14 and adapted to mate with corresponding leaves on adjacent panel members to form the interleave hinge arrangement indicated at 18 in FIGURE 1 at each corner of container 10. As shown at 44, U-shaped leaves 40 and 42 define an enclosed area between the leaf member and the edge of wood strip 28 for receiving an elongated hinge securing pin indicated at 138 in FIGURE 12. It is important to note that hinges 36 and 38 terminate before reaching the top and bottom extremities of the panel to leave spaces indicated at 37 and 39.

FIGURES and 7 illustrate one construction for the bottom panel or base of container indicated generally by the numeral 46. Bottom panel 46 may again primarily consist of a honeycomb core construction 48 of the type previously described and include a pair of terminating lumber strips or blocks 50 at each end thereof. As seen in FIGURE 6, the construction of bottom panel 46 is similar to that described with respect to end panel 14 with the exception that terminating wood strips 50 are preferably somewhat larger than the corresponding strips in the end panel to provide increased strength for bottom panel 46. As indicated by dotted lines, bottom panel 46 includes a central wooden strip 52 providing additional strength and rigidity.

Enclosing honeycomb core '48 and wooden strips 50 and 52 are a pair of sheets 54 and 56, preferably of aluminum, which are suitably secured to the core and wood structure. As shown in FIGURE 6 an angle iron 58 is secured at the end edges of bottom panel 46 to upper aluminum sheet 54. Angle iron 58 in conjunction with a similar angle iron 60 along the longer edges of bottom panel 46, as shown in FIGURE 7, form a unitary angle iron construction passing entirely around the edge of upper aluminum sheet 54. Angle irons 58 and 60 have been omitted from FIGURE 5 for the sake of clarity but it will be understood that they are fixed to top aluminum sheet 54 as shown in FIGURES 6 and 7 and pass completely around bottom panel 46. Also shown in FIGURE 6 is a second angle iron 62, suitably affixed to bottom aluminum sheet 56, which, in conjunction with angle iron 58, defines a channel 64 along each end of bottom panel 46 for reception of the bottom edge of an end panel 14. End panels 14 are constructed to fit snugly within channels 64 in abutment with the upright portion of angle irons 62 and 58 and the continuous edge formed by the ends of aluminum sheets 54 and 56in conjunction with the separating wooden strips 50.

The longer edges of bottom panel 46 similarly terminate in a pair of wooden strips 66, shown in FIGURE 7, and indicated by dotted lines in FIGURE 5. As previously described, an upper angle iron 60 is affixed to aluminum sheet 54 along each edge of lower panel 46. Additional angle iron 68 similarly secured to bottom aluminum sheet 56 defines elongated channels 70 similarly adapted to snugly receive and engage the lower edges of the front and back panels of container 10.

A second construction for the bottom panel 46 is illustrated in FIGURE 11. In this case the bottom panel 46 constitutes a solid panel 47 of lightweight wood; preferably end grain balsa wood which combines the lightweight of balsa with the strength of an end grain wood construction. Like the honeycomb construction 48, the solid panel 47 is enclosed as shown in FIGURES 6 and 7 by a pair of sheets 54 and 56, preferably of aluminum, to which angle irons 58,60, 62 and 68 are attached to form a unitary angle iron channel construction passing entirely around the edge of the panel as shown in FIGURE 12.

Afiixed to the bottom corners of the panel 47 are four castor wheels 96 which are attached inwardly of the angle irons 58, 60, 62 and 68 by means of bolts 98 passing upwardly through the panel 46 and nuts 100 attached to the ends of the bolts 98 projecting above the surface of the sheet 54. A fifth castor wheel 102 is similarly secured at the center of the panel 46 by a bolt 104 and nut 106, and operates in conjunction with castor wheels 96 to provide adequate container support. The castor wheels 96 are positioned to permit handling of the container 10 by conventional fork lift units, and the central position of the castor wheel 102 permits interference free fork lift operation.

FIGURE 8 shows a corner joint for top panel 16 of" FIGURE 1 drawn to an enlarged scale. The construction of top panel 16 is identical to the construction of bottom panel 46 previously described with the exception that less reinforcement of the top panel is required allowing a reduction in the necessary width of the terminating lumber strips along the respective edges of the panel. Similarly the central wooden strip corresponding to strip 52 indicated in FIGURE 5 may be omitted from the panel or lid 16. As shown in FIGURE 8 a pair of angle irons 72 and 74 corresponding to angle irons 62 and 68 of bottom panel 46 are joined at the corner of the panel along a diagonal line 76 forming the juncture of the two angle iron members 72 and 74. Spot welding may be employed to join the angle iron members at each of the four corners of panel 16 as indicated at 78 in FIGURE 8. It will be apparent that the inner angle iron members indicated by dotted lines at 80 and 82 formed on the under surface of lid 16 may be similarly joined by spot welding. A similar spot welding construction may also be employed for the respective angle irons of bottom panel 46.

FIGURES 9 and 10 show the construction of front panel 12 including upper and lower sections 20 and 22. FIGURE 10 shows in cross section the construction of panel 12 and additionally shows the abutment of movable door portion 21 against the edge of lid 16. The central core and enclosing aluminum sheets of sections 20 and 22 forming panel 12 is in most respects identical to the construction of the panels previously described and further elaboration is deemed unnecessary. As can be seen from FIGURE 10, section 20 and door portion 21 terminate at the top and bottom portions thereof in lumber strips 84, the lowermost of which with its enclosing aluminum sheets is adapted to be received in channel 70 of bottom panel 46.

Hinge leaves 86 and 88 of a construction of the type previously described are securely fixed throughout the length thereof to each end of the panel 12 and extend upwardly along the edges of the frame 23 of upper section 20 but terminate short of the edges of the upper and lower section as indicated at 90 in FIGURE 9.

Sufficient space is provided between the frame 23 and the door portion 21 to facilitate free pivotal movement of the door portion about the hinge 24. In the closed position of door portion 21 illustrated in FIGURE 10, inward movement of door portion 21 is checked by angle iron 80 secured to the underside of lid 16.

Many suitable locking mechanisms may be employed to securely lock the door portion 21 against the angle iron 80. As shown in FIGURE 10, such mechanism may include a manual lock indicated generally at 94 having a female receiver section 108 secured to the angle iron 80 and a rotatable male section 110 mounted on the door portion 21. Male section 110 may manually be rotated by means of a handle 112, and includes a locking shaft 114 which projects into the receiver section 108. A lateral extension 116 on the locking shaft 114 cooperates with spiral grooves or camed lugs 118 within the receiver section 108 in a well known manner to lock the door portion 21 tightly in place.

FIGURE 13 illustrates a locking and sealing construction for the door portion 21 which may be advantageously employed in place of a manual locking mechanism. In this embodiment, the adjacent edges of the frame 23 and the door portion 21 are provided with opposed concave channels indicates at 120 and 122. These channels are designed to extend completely about the three sides of the door portion 21 not secured to the hinge 24, and are adapted to receive a collapsible tube 124 of Mylar or other similar materal. The collapsible tube 124 may be freely mounted within the channels 120 or 122 or may be permanently secured within either of such channels. With the door portion 21 in the closed position shown in FIGURE 13, the collapsible tube 124 is inflated by pneumatic or hydraulic pressure to fill the channels 120 and 122 and sealingly lock the door portion 21 to the frame 23.

The novel container of the present invention is constructed to form a unitary unit to which strength is imparted through the phenomena of columnar compression. The channels formed by the angle irons attached to the top and bottom panels of the container receive the side panels thereof and maintain them in tight abutting relationship with the peripheral edges of the top and bottom panels. Thus the angle irons act as connectors to form the various panels of the container 10 into substantially a unitary unit.

The final and most important step in the formation of the container 10 is the application of columnar compression to the individual panels thereof. The construction for achieving this purpose is best illustrated in FIGURE 12 which shows in detail the construction of one of the four identical corner hinges 18 of FIGURE 1.

With reference to FIGURE 12, the hinge leaf 36 of one of the end panels 14 mates with the hinge leaf 86 of the front panel 12. As previously described, the hinge leaves 36 and 86 are of a smaller length than the height of the panel to which they are attached, and therefore terminate short of the upper and lower edges of the panel to leave spaces indicated at 126 in FIGURE 12. It is this portion of the panel 14 indicated at 126 which is inserted into the channels formed by the angle irons attached to the top and bottom panels 16 and 46.

With the hinge leaves 36 and 86 interleaved to form the hinge 18 of FIGURE 12, a hollow pin or torsion rod 138 is inserted to secure the leaves together (FIG. 3). Rod 138 is of a length greater than the length of the hinge leaves 36 and 86, but is of less length than the height of the panels 12 and 14. The inside diameter of the torsion rod 138 is threaded at each end to receive the ends of threaded bolts 12S and 130 which extend through the angle irons attached to the top and bottom panels. For illustrative purposes, the interconnection between a bolt 130 and the angle irons 72 and 74 of top panel 16 is illustrated in FIGURE 12, but the connection at the lower panel 46 is identical to that illustrated.

In assembling the container 10, the end panels 14 and front and back panels 12 are interleaved at the corners to form the hinges 18, the torsion rods 138 are inserted in the hinges, and the interleaved panels are then mounted, as previously described, within the channels formed by the angle irons secured to the top and bottom panels 16 and 46. At this point, the connections at the corners of the container appear as illustrated in FIGURE 12 with a space 132 appearing between the top of the torsion rod 138 and the bottom surface of the angle iron 72 while a second, large space 134 appears between the lower edge 136 of the angle iron 72 and the top of the hinge 18. The bolts 128 and 130 are then inserted through the top and bottom panels 16 and 46 and threaded into the ends of the torsion rods 138. Subsequently the bolts 128 and 130 are tightened to tension the torsion rod 138 and to draw the top and bottom panels together until the space 132 is closed and the edge 136 of the angle iron 72 is moved to the dotted line position in FIGURE 12. This action causes the structurally weak metal torsion rods 138 to impart the full tensile strength of the metal used in forming the rods to the corners of the container 10, while the pressure arising from the tensioning of these rods places the panels of the container under columnar compression. The top and bottom panels are forced together upon the end, front, and rear panels, and additional pressure is transmitted through the angle irons to the top and bottom panels. The result is a unitary container locked rigidly together with all elements in compressed abutting relationship. Greatly added strength is imparted to the container 10 by this unitary, rigid configuration wherein each element is subjected to columnar compression and shocks applied to any single element are substantially transmitted and absorbed throughout the entire container structure.

It is apparent that the present invention provides a novel lightweight collapsible freight container for use in shipping a variety of articles. When assembled the container presents an attractive appearance and possesses sufficient structural strength and rigidity to withstand more than normal abuse in transit. Removal of lid 16 and bottom panel 46 from engagement with the four upright panel members comprising the remainder of the container structure enables the container to be completely collapsed so as to be returnable to the sender for reuse. In addition, the hinged front panel provides means for easy and ready access to the container contents without the necessity of completely disassembling the container.

In conjunction with suitable fastening means the container of the present invention is relatively tamper-proof preventing unauthorized access to the enclosed articles. The novel construction disclosed renders the device fireproof and particularly suited for the carrying of freight.

A major feature of the disclosed container construction is that it takes advantage of the principle of distributing the effect of any blow or pressure load on the container to the strongest part of a panel through columnar compression. The rounded corners exhibited by hinge fasteners 18 avoid snagging and serve to transmit direct blows as glancing impacts to avoid excessive corner damage and provide maximum resistance to deformation of the container through evenly distributed corner to corner compression.

The container is easy to disassemble and to reassemble for additional use with several of the panels interchangeable so that they may be individually replaced or repaired without the necessity of discarding the entire container. This interchangeability also makes it possible to substitute different size panels to vary the size of the container while still retaining some of the original container panels.

The individual panels formed of a honeycomb core construction covered by high tensile skins have excellent insulating properties, for the wood separating strips and honeycomb centers prevent any metal to metal contact between the inner and outer skin of the container panels.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:

1. A collapsible container comprising a plurality of upright Wall panels, a bottom panel including an upwardly facing channel extending around the outer peripheral edges there of receiving the bottom edges of said Wall panels, a top panel for said container including a downwardly facing channel extending around the peripheral edges thereof receiving the bottom edges of said well a plurality of hinge structures secured to the vertical edges of said wall panels, said hinges being shorter in height than the adjacent upright edges of said wall panels, substantially rigid tension means extending through said channels and connected between said top and bottom panels and extending through said hinge structures to interconnect said wall panels, said tension means including tension rods shorter in length than the height of said wall panels and connecting means for connecting said tension rods to said top and bottom panels, said connecting means being operable to stress said tension rods to reinforce the corners of said container and draw said top and bottom panels together to effect columnar compression along the entirety of said Wall and top and bottom panels.

2. A collapsible container as defined in claim 1 wherein said bottom, top and wall panels comprise a honeycomb core construction terminating at each edge in reinforcing lumber strips and including on each side thereof a rela tively thin sheet of strong, light-weight metal.

3. A collapsible container as defined in claim 2 wherein one of said wall panels comprises top and bottom sections, said top section being centrally cut away to form a framed door opening, door means mounted within said opening, and hinge means coupled along one edge of said door means between said frame and door means, said hinge means permitting rotation of said door means outwardly from said container about the adjacent edge of said frame.

4. A collapsible container as defined in claim 1 wherein said bottom panel constitutes a solid end grained wood panel. 7

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Faris 217-65 695,677 3/1902 1,345,552 7/1920 Rigal 217-56 1,441,343 1/1923 Hartshorn 2l7 12 2,530,160 11/1950 Finley 22Q46 2,564,940 8/1951 Weber 21757 2,578,644 12/1951 Mautner 217 65 2,609,068 9/1952 Paj ak. 2,922,517 1/ 1960 Nordquist et al. 20656 FOREIGN PATENTS 164,899 12/ 1949 Austria.

6,079 4/ 1884 Great Britain. I 1,567 Ad. 1915 Great Britain. 707,758 4/ 1954 Great Britain.

RAPHAEL H. SCHWARTZ, Primary Examiner.

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U.S. Classification220/4.34
International ClassificationB65D6/16, B65D6/24, B65D90/02, B65D88/52, B65D88/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D88/524, B65D90/02
European ClassificationB65D90/02, B65D88/52A2