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Publication numberUS3482708 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 9, 1969
Filing dateApr 16, 1968
Priority dateApr 16, 1968
Publication numberUS 3482708 A, US 3482708A, US-A-3482708, US3482708 A, US3482708A
InventorsLevit Edward C, Olree Adrian R
Original AssigneeSteelcase Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stacking trays
US 3482708 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 9, 1969 E. c. LEVIT ETAL STACKING TRAYS Filed April 16, 1968 INVENTORS EDWARD C. LEVIT FIG. 4

ADRIAN R. OLREE BY @M, W '1? ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,482,708 STACKING TRAYS Edward C. Levit, Grand Rapids, and Adrian R. Olree, Caledonia, Mich., assignors to Steelcase, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed Apr. 16, 1968, Ser. No. 721,722 Int. Cl. A47f 3/14 US. Cl. 211-126 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to stacking trays. In one of its aspects it relates to stacking trays wherein first and second trays have a bottom and at least two side walls, each tray has channel means on the bottom, at least at the side portions thereof, vertically extending support bars are provided to support the trays in spaced vertical relationship at each side of the tray, the support bars being of substantial width compared to the thickness, each vertical support bar having at least two inwardly directed arms of substantial width compared to the thickness for engaging the channels on the tray bottoms.

Stacking trays have found widespread use in oflices for in and out baskets. Many types of supports for the stacking trays have been devised. There have been stacking trays in which the top trays are supported by vertical posts at the tray corners. There have been stacking trays in which the top trays are supported by vertical posts at the backs and sides of the trays. One stacking dray design provides a pair of vertical wire-like supports at the sides of the trays to give a cantilevered style of tray so that access can be had to the bottom tray from the back and front ends.

Jones 2,334,825 discloses a stacking tray construction in which the side walls extend upwardly and form inwardly directed tabs at the top portion thereof. Receiving hooks are formed from the bottom of the trays for receiving the side wall tabs of lower trays.

I have now discovered an improved can ilevered style stacking tray wherein the trays are more rigidly supported through a pair of vertical bars which have laterally extending side arms of substantial width for engaging channels beneath the bottom of the trays.

By various aspects of this invention one or more of the following, or other, objects can be obtained.

It is an object of this invention to provide a rigid stacking tray of cantilevered construction.

It is an object of this invention to provide improved stacking trays which are supported only at the sides and have open ends to facilitate access to the bottom tray or trays through either end.

It is further object of this invention to provide improved stacking trays wherein the supporting means between the trays is separable so that the supporting bars can be of different material and finish than the trays.

Other aspects, objects, and the several advantages of this invention are apparent to one skilled in the art from a study of the disclosure, the drawings, and the appended claims.

According to the invention there is provided a stacking tray construction. There is provided first and second trays, each having a bottom and at least two opposite side walls. Channel means are provided on the bottom of the trays at least at side portions thereof. The support means for the trays comprises a vertically extending support bar at each side of the trays, the support bars being of substantial width as compared with the thickness so that a wide supporting surface is adjacent the side walls. Each ice support bar has at least one pair of inwardly extending arms so shaped as to fit within the channel means of the tray bottom. The arms are vertically spaced on the support bars so that the trays, when assembled, are vertically spaced from each other.

Preferably, the channels and arms are of substantial width relative to thickness and of approximately the same dimension so that a close fit and rigid construction can be accomplished.

The invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged front elevational View, partly in section, of a side of the top tray showing the attachment of the supporting bar to the top tray; and

FIG. 4 is a sectional view through lines IVIV of FIG. 3.

Referring now to the drawings, an upper tray 2 and a lower tray 4 are attached together through supporting bars 20 forming vertically spaced stacking trays. The upper tray 2 has a bottom '6, sides 8, and a back 10. The lower tray 4 has a bottom 12, sides 14 and a back 18.

The trays are spaced from each other and the top tray is supported above the bottom tray through removable support bars 20. The support bars 20 comprise a side support 22 of substantial width which is positioned against the sides 8 and 14 of the top and bottom trays, respectively. The supporting bar 20 has a laterally extending bottom arm 24 which extends a substantial distance beneath the tray 4 and a laterally extending top arm 26 which extends a substantial distance beneath bottom 6 of upper tray 2. Each of the laterally extending arms is positioned within a channel 28 which is welded to the bottoms of the trays through side flanges 30. The laterally extending top arm 26 is bent in an L-shaped manner and the downwardly extending portion thereof is welded to the inner portion of the side support 22. The laterally extending bottom arm 4 is formed from the bottom portion of the side support 22.

The means of supporting the trays through the supporting bar 20 hides the supports from view. There is no appearance of the supporting means on the upper surface of the bottom 6 or bottom 12. Further, normally only the side support 22 will be seen. Thus, the attaching means is substantially hidden from view.

The use of a substantially wide side support 22 stabilizes the trays against lateral movement relative to each other. Further use of the wide supporting arms and long supporting arms stabilizes the tray vertically. FIG. 4 shows the close engagement of laterally extending bar 26 and channel 28. The use of the close tolerances between the bar 26 and channel 28 and the long arms provides a rigid supporting structure.

Because the bars are removable, the trays can be stacked or nested for shipping.

As an example of a suitable tray construction, in normal stacking trays having a length of 10 to 15 inches and a width of 8 to 11 inches and the width of the arms can be in the range of l to 3 inches.

Whereas the invention has been described with reference to two vertically stacked trays, it is obvious that three or more trays could be vertically stacked according to the invention.

The use of the kind of stacking trays above described permit easy access to the bottom trays through the back and front and even through portions of the sides of the trays. Further, the construction provides no obstructions in the top tray for access thereto.

The use of the separable bars permit a different finish to be used on the bars than on the trays. For example, the trays can be painted a color and the bars can be of a chrome finish which will accompany the decor of the room. Further, the supporting bars can be made from a different material than the tray bottoms. For example, the tray bottoms can be molded out of plastic and the sides can be made from a stronger more rigid metal.

The use of separate support bars permits the arms to extend into the channels a substantial distance. If, for example, the support bars were integral with the bottom tray, the distance which the arms could be inserted into the channels would be limited by the flexibility of the support bars. The use of channels which open at the sides of the trays permit the trays to be rigidly interconnected by a single support member at each side. The closed channel and arm construction prevents relative movement of the trays about vertical and horizontal axes.

The trays can be made from metal, plastic, or any suitable material. The tray supporting bar can be made also of metal or plastic, although the more rigid metal bars are preferred.

Reasonable variation and modification are possible within the scope of the foregoing disclosure, the drawings, and the appended claims of the invention Without departing from the spirit thereof.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In a tray stack comprising first and second trays, each having a bottom and at least two supporting side walls, means to support said trays in spaced vertical relationship, attaching means on said trays for said support means the improvement which comprises: said attaching means comprises channel means on the under side of said tray bottoms; and said support means comprising a vertically extending support bar at each side of said trays, said support bars being of substantial width compared to thickness so that a wide supporting surface is adjacent said side walls, each support bar having at least one pair of inwardly extending arms so shaped as to fit within said channel means on said tray bottoms, said arms being vertically spaced on said vertical bar.

2. A tray stack according to claim 1 wherein said arms are of substantial width compared with the thickness and are rigidly connected to support bars, thus providing a simple sturdy support for said trays.

3. A tray stack according to claim 1 wherein said sup port bars extend upwardly of said upper arm on said bar to further rigidify said upper tray.

4. A tray stack according to claim 3 wherein said upper arm comprises an L-shape bar which is welded onto said support so that it is substantially hidden from view when trays are assembled.

5. A tray stack according to claim 4 wherein said lower arm comprises an inwardly bent portion of said support bar.

6. A tray stack according to claim 1 wherein said inwardly extending arms extend a substantial distance beneath said tray bottoms.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,761,004 6/1930 Blake 2l1-l26 X 1,837,200 12/1931 Buesser 2lll26 X 2,334,825 11/1943 Jones 211126 2,894,640 7/1959 Bigelow 21l126 2,901,120 8/1959 Abrahamson 2l1126 3,182,811 5/1965 Bartlett 211-126 NILE C. BYERS, 111., Primary Examiner Disclaimer 3,482,708.Edwa7'd 0. Le'vit, Grand Rapids, and Adrian R. Olree, Caledonia, Mich. STACKING TRAYS. Patent dated Dec. 9, 1969. Disclaimer filed Oct. 25, 197 2, by the assignee, Steelcase, Inc. Hereby enters this disclaimer to claims 1, 2 and 6 of said patent.

[Oflicial Gazette January 16', 1.973.]

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1761004 *Aug 17, 1929Jun 3, 1930Blake Harry DAdjustable bracket for display cases
US1837200 *Oct 19, 1927Dec 22, 1931Frederick BuesserTray and holder
US2334825 *Feb 4, 1943Nov 23, 1943Art Metal Construction CoTray and tray stack
US2894640 *Dec 19, 1955Jul 14, 1959Bryant BigelowDesk trays and the like
US2901120 *Jan 31, 1956Aug 25, 1959All Steel Equipment IncDesk tray
US3182811 *Jan 21, 1963May 11, 1965Mosler Harbor Metal Products CShelf interlocking device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3648849 *Feb 13, 1970Mar 14, 1972All Steel Equipment IncDesk tray arrangement
US4074810 *Sep 27, 1976Feb 21, 1978Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc.Combination tiered letter tray and vertical file
US4657148 *Sep 30, 1985Apr 14, 1987Metro Plastic Industry Pte. Ltd.Slidably staggerable tiered document tray
US4785939 *May 26, 1987Nov 22, 1988Eldon Industries, Inc.Stacking tray
US4887724 *Aug 25, 1988Dec 19, 1989Smith Metal Arts Co., Inc.Tiered tray assembly
US5299690 *Jun 22, 1993Apr 5, 1994Sterling Plastics Co.Cascading stackable trays
US5363974 *Dec 18, 1992Nov 15, 1994American Trading And Production CorporationStackable desk tray assembly
WO1993012697A1 *Dec 23, 1992Jul 8, 1993American Trading & ProdStackable desk tray assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/126.12, 211/126.5
International ClassificationA47B87/00, A47B87/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47B87/0261
European ClassificationA47B87/02B6