US 3448914 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sheet /v of 5 Filed Jan. 11, 1968.
June 10, 1969 w. A. SCHOLZ 9 3,448,914
COLLAPS IBLE CONTAINER Filed Jan. 11, 1968 Sheet 3 of s 114 .FJG. 6. j V
INVENTOR. 9 W/LL MM A. .S'CHOLZ ATTOIWVE/SZ United States Patent 3.448,914 COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER William A. Scholz, 322 E. Hawthorne, Ontario, Calif. 91762 Filed Jan. 11, 1968, Ser. No. 697,051
Int. Cl. B65d 3/24, /26, 5/46 US. Cl. 229-15 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A container arrangement that includes a collar hani ng an open top and bottom receiving a frame, which is supported by abutments in the collar, and from the frame, in turn, are suspended individual containers, such as berry baskets. In the absence of the frame within the collar, the collar is collapsible to a flat condition for shipment and storage.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to a collapsible container.
The prior art In produce packing and shipping, boxes of corrugated board normally are constructed to hold the items being retained and shipped. For berries and similar produce, it is necessary to have boxes in the field to receive the baskets of fruit picked by the workers. In the past, a machine has been required in the field to actually construct the boxes on the site. It requires both time and money to accomplish this operation in the field. Moreover, the boxes are somewhat awkward to use in introduction and removal of the berries or other produce. The contents of the boxes are substantially sealed up after they are filled as free circulation of air is precluded. This hastens a spoilage of the produce. When the conventional containers are stacked, there is no assurance that they will not shift around and slide relative to each other.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an improved container arrangement ideally suited for receiving berries and similar produce. It includes a collapsible bottomless collar that is shipped to the field compactly in a fiat condition. It is merely unfolded when it is to be used, not requiring a special machine to construct it at the site. The end portions of the collar include ledges which support a support grid that, in turn, suspends the baskets that contain the produce. The end walls of the collar have interlocking arrangements at their top and bottom edges, so that the containers may be stacked one upon the other without danger of the upper ones sliding off. Nevertheless, they are readily removable when desired. Side openings provide for circulation of'air when the containers are in the stacked position. The baskets are removed from the frame and the surrounding collar merely by pushing upwardly from the bottom, which may be accomplished by setting the unit down over any object dimensioned to fit within the frame.
An object of this invention is to provide an improved collapsible container device.
Another object of this invention is to provide a container adapted 'for receiving produce, such as berries, which can be shipped in a flat condition and erected at the field through a simple unfolding operation.
A further object of this invention is to provide a produce container device any number of which may be assembled in a stacked relationship while being locked against shifting of the various containers relative to each other.
r 4 3,448,914 Ice Patented June 10, 1969 An additional object of this invention is to provide a container device adapted to receive individual baskets, with the baskets readily assembled and removed.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a produce container of a type allowing a multiplicity of containers to be stacked while providing for free circulation of air when in the stacked condition.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a collapsible container device that is of low-cost, lightweight yet rugged construction.
These and other objects will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the container device of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the collar portion of the container in the collapsed condition;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of the grid for supporting the baskets in the collar;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view illustrating the end walls and their locking means;
FIGURE 5 is a transverse sectional view showing two of the collars, one stacked upon the other;
FIGURE 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal sectional view illustrating the suspension of the baskets in the frame within the collar;
FIGURE 8 is a side elevational view of two containers in a stacked relationship showing the gap provided for air circulation; and
FIGURE 9 is a longitudinal sectional view illustrating an arrangement for removing the baskets from the frame.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The container of this invention includes a bottomless collapsible collar 10 adapted to support a rigid grid frame 11. The latter element suspends baskets or other receptacles 12 within the space defined by the collar.
Thecollar 10 includes an outer rim having opposed sidewalls 13 and 14 and end walls 15 and 16. Typically, this is made of corrugated board, although plastic or other material may be used. Secured to the inner surfaces of the end walls 15 and 16, such as by gluing, and forming continuations of these walls, are rigid inner supports 18 and 19. For alternate plastic construction, the supports 18 and 19 may be integral with the walls 15 and 16. Preferably, the elements 18 and 19 are made of a low-density material, such as being molded from fused foamed polystyrene beads. The end members 18 and 19 are identical, detailed construction of the member 19 being shown in FIGURES 4, 5, 6 and 7.
At its lower edge, the member 19 is recessed at the surface adjacent the end wall 16. The result is a depending flange 20 at the inner lower edge of the member 19 together with a longitudinally extending pocket or recess 21 defined between the flange 20 and the bottom edge of the end wall 16. Larger recesses 22 and 23 extend transversely of the member 19 through its entire thickness in a spaced relationship at its lower edge. At an intermediate location, the rigid member 19 is made thinner above a certain point so as to provide a ledge 24 extending longitudinally of the member 19. At the upper edge of the member 19, the thickness on the inner side of this element again is reduced to result in an upstanding flange 25. Spaced lugs 26 and 27 interrupt the flange 25 and extend inwardly and upwardly of the flange.
The end member 18 has a configuration corresponding to that of the member 19 described above. This includes a depending flange 28 at the lower edge defining a recess 29 with the wall 15, an upstanding flange 30 at the-top edge, and spaced lugs 31 and 32 at the top of the member 18. It also includes a horizontal ledge 33 along its inner surface.
The collar is adapted to be folded flat, as shown in FIGURE 2, making it compact and facilitating its shipment, handling and storage. In the absence of the grid 11, it is bendable about the corners 34 and 35 at the intersections of the walls 13 and 15, and 14 and 16, respectively. In addition, the walls 13 and 14 are scored for bending along vertical lines 36 and 37. These are located adjacent diametrically opposed corners of the collar, being spaced inwardly so that the score lines are in approximate alignment with the inner faces of the rigid support members 18 and 19. Collapsing of the collar takes place as the walls 13 and 14 are bent inwardly along the score lines 36 and 37. At the same time, the corners 34 and 35 are opened up. As a result, the collar assumes a flat contour and occupies little volume for easy storing, shipment and handling.
When the collar 10 is to be used, it is opened up to the position of FIGURE 1, and the frame 11 is associated with it. The latter element, shown in perspective in FIG- URE 3, may be simply a grid of spaced longitudinal wires 38 welded to transverse wires 39. Other materials may be used as desired. Together, the wires 38 and 39 define square openings through the grid. The frame 11 is dimensioned to fit within the opened-up collar so that the end transverse members 39 of the grid rest upon the abutments formed by the ledges 24 and 33 of the end walls 19 and 18, respectively. Short hooks 40 and 41 project outwardly beyond the ends of the central transverse wire 39 to fit down through notches 42 and 43 in the sidewalls 13 and 14 and overlap the sidewalls. This anchors and provides support for the central portion of the frame. When the frame 11 is positioned within the collar 10, it holds the collar in its rectangular configuration, preventing the bending of its corners. Collapse of the collar 10 is thereby prevented.
The frame 11 supports the baskets 12, which hang downwardly through the grid openings, suspended from the grid wires by their thin upper flanges 44. The flanges 44 of adjacent baskets may overlap each other, which, of course, has no adverse effect upon their firm retention by the grid 11. The baskets 12 are shorter than the depth of the collar 10 beneath the grid 11, so that they are suspended within the collar and spaced above a surface supporting the collar. Thus, the baskets 12 may be filed with berries, other produce or the like and securely held within the collar 10 by the support frame 11. Installation of the baskets into the collar is quite easily accomplished. The assembled collar 10 and its contents are carried through the provision of hand openings 45 and 46 through the end walls and 16 and the rigid members 18 and 19. Thus, a complete receptacle unit is readily erected and used through the simple unfolding of the collar 12, the dropping in of the frame 11 and the baskets 12. The contents of the collar are readily accessible and it is handled without difiiculty through the hand opennigs 45 and 46.
One of the advantages of the arrangement of this invention is that the collars 10 may be arranged in a stacked relationship, in which event the collars are locked relative to each other so that they are prevented from relative lateral movement. When the stacking occurs, as indicated in FIGURES 5 and 6, the upstanding lugs 26 of one end member 19 fit within the enlarged recesses 22 and 23 in the lower edge of the member 19 immediately above it. Also, the flange of the lower member becomes received in the pocket 21 at the lower edge of the member above. This firmly anchors the two collars so that the upper one will not shift relative to the lower. Relative transverse movement is precluded because the lugs in the recesses 22 and 23 engage the side edges of the recesses and block any such movement. Longitudinal movement is prevented by the presence of the flange 25 in the pocket 21. In one direction, the flange 25 is blocked by the depending flange 20 of the member 19 immediately above it. In the other direction, movement is precluded by the lower edge portion of the end wall 16. Thus, lateral movement is blocked in all directions. The adjacent end members 18 lock in a similar manner. While the parts are held firmly in the stacked relationship, they come apart by merely lifting the upper collar unit vertically off the one below it. Assembly and disassembly in the stacked position are accomplished without difficulty.
The upper edges 47 and 48 of the sidewalls 13 and 14 are cut down below the level of the end walls 15 and 16. The result is a gap 49 between the upper edge of the sidewall of the lower collar 10 and the bottom edge of the sidewall of the upper collar 10, as seen in FIGURE 8. This is advantageous in that it allows the circulation of air through the stacked containers. This helps preserve the produce carried by the assembled units, contrasted with conventional arrangements which are sealed against air circulation and promote more rapid spoilage.
The receptacle provided by the arrangement of this invent-ion is very light, benig made of a minimum amount of material and adapted for construction from low-density components. This is particularly important because the type of produce used in conjunction with this invention, such as berries, frequently is shipped by air.
The assembled collar and frame unit is open at the top and readily accessible for installation and removal of the baskets 12. The fact that the collar has no bottom makes basket removal particularly easy to accomplish. For example, the arrangement shown in FIGURE 8 may be utilized, where the collar 10 is slipped down over a rectangular element 50, which may be the lid of a cardboard box, or other member dimensioned to fit within the collar. As the collar is set down over the member 50, the latter element pushes upwardly on the baskets 12, automatic-ally raising them and freeing them from the frame 11. The baskets then easily are removed from the retainer device of this invention.
The components of the container assembly are of durable nature and may be reused if so desired. However, in view of the low cost in producing the item and the necessity for reshipping to the source after use, normally the containers are dealt with as expendable items and discarded after each use.
1. A container device comprising a substantially rectangular collar,
said collar having side and end walls and an open top and bottom,
said collar having abutment means therein,
a frame in said collar engaging said abutment means and being supported thereby,
said frame being adapted to support receptacle means within said collar,
said collar having bendable means for collapsing said collar to a substantially flat condition in the absence of said frame therein,
said frame being substantially rigid for normally preventing said collapse of said collar, and means on at least some of said Walls for engaging adjacent ones of said collars in an interlocked relationship when said collars are stacked one upon the other.
2. A device as recited in claim 1 in which said locking means includes means for preventing laterial movement in two directions.
3. A container device comprising a substantially rectangular collar,
said collar having side and end wals and an open top and bottom,
said collar having inner wall portions having abutment means intermediate the edges thereof,
a frame in said collar intermediate said side and end walls,
said frame engaging said abutment means and being supported thereby, said collar having bendable corner means for collapsing said collar to a substantially flat condition in the absence of said frame therein, and a plurality of individual containers supported by said frame in said collar. 4. A device as recited in claim 3 in Which said frame includes spaced horizontal elements, and said individual containers have flange means thereon,
said flange means overlapping said horizontal elements to provide said support of said individual containers. 5. A device as recited in claim 3 in Which at least some of said walls have interlocking means at top and bottom edges thereof,
the top interlocking means being engageable with said bottom interlocking means of an adjacent one of said collars,
whereby a plurality of said colars may be stacked in an interlocked relationship. 6. A container device comprising a substantially rectangular collar,
said collar having bendable corner means for collapsing said collar to a substantially flat condition, said collar having opposed end walls and opposed sidewalls and open bottom and top walls,
at least two of said walls having inwardly projecting abutment means thereon intermediate the edges thereof, a rectangular grid removably received in said collar, said grid having end portions bearing against said abutment means,
whereby said abutment means supports said grid in said collar, said grid being substantially rigid for normally preventing said folding of said collar, and a plurality of individual containers supported by said grid in said collar. 7. A device as recited in claim 6 in which said grid includes laterally projectng portions,
said laterally projecting portions engaging and being supported by said sidewalls. 8. A device as recited in claim 7 in which said sidewalls include slots therein receiving said laterally projecting portions,
said laterally projecting portions including hook portions at the ends thereof overlapping said sidewalls. 9. A container device comprising a rectangular collar,
said collar having two opposed walls thicker than the other two opposed walls, said collar being bendable laterally outwardly at two opposed corners thereof and bendable laterally inwardly adjacent the opposite corners thereof at the locations where said other two walls meet said thicker walls,
whereby said collar is bendable to a substantially flat condition, said thicker walls including a horizontal ledge means facing inwardly of said collar, and a grid of wire arranged to provide rectangular openings therethrough,
said grid at the opposite ends thereof resting on said inwardly facing ledge means,
whereby said grid is supported in said collar, said grid being substantially rigid for normally preventing said bending of said collar to said substantially flat condition, said thicker walls at the upper edges thereof having interlocking means and at the lower edges thereof having interlocking means complementary to said interlocking means at said upper edges thereof,
whereby said collars may be stacked with said interlocking means at said lower edges engaging said interlocking means at said upper edges of adjacent collars for locking said collars in said stacked condition. 10. A device as recited in claim 9 in which for said interlocking means there are provided upstanding flanges on said upper edges of said thicker walls, and upwardly projecting spaced lugs on said upper edges,
and for said interlocking means on said lower edges there are provided elongated recesses adapted to receive said flanges,
and additional larger recesses adapted to receive said lugs. 11. A device as recited in claim 9 in which a central one of the wires of said grid projects outwardly beyond said grid on either side thereof,
said outwardly projecting portions being bent laterally relative to said grid to provide hook means thereon,
said other walls of said collar having vertically extending slots in the top edges thereof receiving said outwardly projecting portions of said wire with said lateral portions thereof downwardly overlapping the outer surfaces of said other walls.
12. A device as recited in claim 9 in which said collar is made of corrugated board,
said thicker walls including elements of foamed plastic bonded to said corrugated board to provide a greater thickness at said walls.
13. A device as recited in claim 9 in which said collar is contoured such that when said collars are stacked opening means are provided therethrough for permitting circulation of air through said stacked collars.
14. A device as recited in claim 13 in which for providing said opening means edge portions of said other two opposed walls are recessed so that when said collars are stacked the edges of said other two opposed walls are spaced from each other.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 312,421 12/1885 Bauer. 1,947,933 2/1934 Fante 211-71 X 2,544,283 3/ 1951 Snyder 22945 X 3,106,332 10/ 1963 Dieguez 22952 FOREIGN PATENTS 192,566 2/1923 Great Britain.
DAVID M. BOCKENEK, Primary Examiner.
us. 01. X.R. 220 97; 229-42, 52