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Publication numberUS3422979 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 21, 1969
Filing dateApr 17, 1967
Priority dateApr 17, 1967
Publication numberUS 3422979 A, US 3422979A, US-A-3422979, US3422979 A, US3422979A
InventorsCarlson Ronald A, Gerharter Thomas M
Original AssigneeMinnesota Mining & Mfg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tray for liquids
US 3422979 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

n- 1969 R. A. CARLSON ETAL 3,422,979 I TRAY FOR LIQUIDS Filed April 1'7, 1967 WWW/@8196 United States Patent 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A combination storage and processing tray for volatile or oxidizable liquids, for example, for processing photographic materials, which permits facile dispensing of the liquid from the storage area to the work area merely by laying the tray into a horizontal work position from a generally upright storage position. The liquid is returned to the storage area from the work area by raising the tray from the horizontal work position to a generally upright storage position. The configuration of the storage area restricts the surface area of the volatile or oxidizable liquid which is exposed to the atmosphere during storage.

The present invention relates to a tray, and more particularly relates to a tray for the storage of volatile or oxidizable liquids on the one hand and which readily dispenses the stored liquid into the work area of the tray merely upon positioning the tray into a generally horizontal work position on the other hand.

The tray of the present invention is eminently suited for use in the chemical processing of photographic materials where the chemicals utilized are notoriously oxidizable by exposure to light and air. Accordingly, the invention will be hereinafter described with reference to such uses but it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be so limited.

The various chemical solutions used in the processing of photographic materials such as negatives and prints are readily oxidized upon exposure to light and air. They are, therefore, ordinarily stored in dark bottles until required for .processing photographic materials and rebottled immediately after use to retard the oxidation processthis is true even when the processing operation is interrupted for relatively short periods of time.

It is, therefore, much to be desired to provide equipment which will protect the chemical solutions from oxidation and evaporation while obviating the need for repeated rebottling of said solutions whenever the processing operation is interrupted.

An object of the present invention is to provide a combination storage and processing tray which permits facile dispensing of the processing solution from the storage chamber to the working area of the tray and conversely permits easy return of the solution to the storage chamber after use.

Another object of the invention is to provide a tray which protects the solution during its storage from the oxidizing effects of both light and air.

These and other objects and advantages will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the fol lowing detailed description and disclosure, especially in light of the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals refer to corresponding parts in the several diagrammatic views, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of the tray of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view of the tray taken along the line 22 of FIGURE 1 and "Ice FIGURE 3 is an elevational view, partly in section, of the tray taken along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 1.

Referring to the drawings, the tray 10 comprises a work area 50 generally defined by bottom member 11, side wall members 15, and end wall members 30 and 31, and a storage chamber 60. Side wall members 15 are provided at one end with trapezoidal projections 16 which together with end wall member 31, front wall member 32, top wall member 33, barrier wall member 34 comprising members 35, 36 and 37 and that portion of bottom member 11 lying beneath said projections 16 generally form said storage chamber 60.

Storage chamber 60 is vented to the atmosphere through a breather tube ,61 having a restricted orifice 62. Breather tube 61 is suitably fastened at one end to top wall member 33 of storage chamber 60 and to member 37 of barrier wall 34 at its other end. The location of breather tube 61 at the end of top wall member 33 of storage chamber 60 remote from the bottom of the tray and toward the free end of member 37 of barrier wall 34 (as clearly seen in FIGURES 2 and 3) insures the virtual elimination of spillage of solution from the tray either during storage or when lowering or raising the tray to its work or storage position, respectively. While it is desirable that the orifice 62 of breather tube 61 be of sufficiently small size to restrict the surface area of the solution contained within the storage chamber 60 which is exposed to the atmosphere through said orifice, it is understood that the orifice should be of a size sufiicient to permit the solution to readily flow out of said storage chamber 60 into the work area 50 of the tray.

Storage chamber 60 is so designed that its storage capacity bears a direct relationship to the volume of liquid ordinarily required for the processing operation, i.e., the storage capacity is as nearly equal to the working volume of processing liquid so that the liquid level in the storage chamber is at the zone of constriction, thus having only a small surface area of said liquid exposed to air.

Barrier wall 34, which is shown in the drawings as having a right-angularly offset member 36 connecting the horizontal member 35 with the obliquely offset member 37, forms, with bottom member 11, a narrow restricted trough-shaped opening 38 connecting storage chamber 60 with work area 50. It will be observed that obliquely offset member 37 serves as a funnel when liquid contained in work area 50 ;,is being returned to storage chamber 60 after use. It will also be observed that because of the narrowness of the restricted trough-shaped connecting opening 38, only a small surface area of the liquid in storage chamber 60 is exposed to the atmosphere when tray 10 is in the upright storage position with end wall member 31 disposed at the base. If it is desired to utilize the tray of the present invention as a semi-permanent storage vessel, a wedge-shaped stopper having a complementary configuration to that formed by obliquely offset member 37 and bottom member 11, and extending beyond orifice 62 of breather tube 61, could be used to occlude the atmosphere.

While barrier wall 34 has been shown and described as having a rather complex shape, it is understood that other simpler configurations will perform the contemplated functions of said barrier wall 34. Thus, barrier wall 34 can be formed with two substantially right angularly oriented members, i.e., member 35 could be oriented substantially parallel to breather tube 61 and joined to member 37, thus eliminating member 36 altogether while at the same time providing a larger zone of constriction.

' Bottom 11 of tray 10 is provided at the end remote from storage chamber 60 with a generally rectangular depression 12 of such dimensions that one blade of a pair of tongs conventionally used in processing photographic materials may be easily slipped thereinto and under a print or negative resting on bottom 11 of the tray.

Since the trays of the instant invention will, in many instances, be used with chemical solutions which are corrosive to metals. they will ordinarily be fabricated of nonmetallic opaque synthetic resinous materials such as the phenolic resins, Bakelite, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, melamines, high density polyethylene, high impact polystyrene and acrylic plastics.

in use in processing photographic materials, trays l (usually three in number) would be filled with a suitable quantity of processing solutions such as developer, stop bath and hypo. respectively. (At this time. the trays would be in a horizontal or work position.) After a number of photographic prints have been processed by being passed sequentially through the developer, stop bath and hypo trays in the conventional manner, the operator would merely grasp each of the trays at end wall 30 and raise it to a generally upright or storage position. In so doing. the solution contained in work area 50 would be funneiled" into storage chamber 60 by obliquely ofiset member 37 of barrier wall 34 in readiness for subsequent reuse. Tray has been found to be extremely stable in its storage position due to the configuration of storage chamber 60 and especially'since the weight of the stored liquid is concentrated and distributed across the entire base area with end wall member 31 disposed as the base. When it is desired to process a further number of photographic prints, the operator merely lays the trays into a horizontal or work position whereupon the solution in storage chamber 60 will readily flow into work area 50. It has been found that the flowing of the solution from storage chamber 60 into work area 50 occurs in a gentle wave-like mannerthis agitating action reduces to some extent the necessity for agitating the print during processing. In fact, manual agitation of the print can be essentially eliminated if the tray is returned to its storage position after processing each print and immediately prior to removing the print from the tray. The print would then be substantially drained of solution thus reducing contamination of the succeeding solution and effectively stopping the processing action of the solution, especially the developer. The next print is placed in the tray simultaneously with the laying down of the tray thus insuring complete immersion of the print in the processing solution.

While one embodiment of the invention has been described herein, it will be obvious that various alterations and modifications of the specific configurations may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. A tray for use with an oxidizable solution, said tray being formed to contain a quantity of said solution in a substantially enclosed storage chamber when in a generally upright storage position and to dispense said solution into a shallow work area when placed in a horizontal work position. said tray comprising a bottom member, opposed side walls having at one end projections forming end walls for said storagechamber, wall means joined to and forming the bottom. front and top wallsof said storage chamber between said end projections and said bottom member, a barrier wall joined to said end. projections and to said top wall of said storage chamber and angularly disposed relative to said bottom member to form a restricted troughshaped opening connecting said storage chamber and said work area, said storage chamber being vented to the atmosphere through a breather tube of restricted crosssection. and an end wall joined to the ends of said side walls remote from said projections to form the end of said work area.

2. A tray according to claim 1 wherein the breather tube is connected at one end to the top wall of said storage chamber and at its other end to the free end of said barrier wall such that any liquid coursing through said breather tube will be discharged into the storage chamber or work area. respectively.

3. A tray according to claim 2 wherein said restricted trough-shaped opening extends the full width of said tray.

7 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,725,806 12/1965 Shore -95 Q FOREIGN PATENTS 457,652 7/1926 Germany. JAMES B. MARBERT, Primary Examiner.


Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2725806 *Nov 12, 1952Dec 6, 1955Frank ShorePhotographic and the like trays
DE457652C *Mar 21, 1928Otto SchoenfeldEntwicklungsschale
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4157868 *Jun 20, 1977Jun 12, 1979Samuel NeedlemanPhotographic processing tray
US5862930 *May 23, 1997Jan 26, 1999Inline Plastics CorporationProduct holding and displaying container
U.S. Classification220/501, 220/631, 15/257.5, 220/570, 396/641
International ClassificationG03D13/02, G03D13/04
Cooperative ClassificationG03D13/04
European ClassificationG03D13/04