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Publication numberUS3542280 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 24, 1970
Filing dateFeb 11, 1969
Priority dateFeb 11, 1969
Publication numberUS 3542280 A, US 3542280A, US-A-3542280, US3542280 A, US3542280A
InventorsKenneth L Crabtree
Original AssigneeKeyes Fibre Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Serving tray with hinged cup retainer
US 3542280 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Kenneth L. Crabtree Fairfield, Maine Appl. No. 798,417 Filed Feb. I], 1969 Patented Nov. 24, 1970 Assignee Keyes Fibre Company Waterville, Maine a corporation of Maine SERVING TRAY WITH I-IINGED CUP RETAINER 8 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl 229/I5, 229/25, 229/45 Int. Cl B65d 3/24, 365d 81/06 Field ofSearch ..229/l5, 2.5,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,184,133 5/1965 Boyd et al..,........ 229/25 3,366,303 1/1968 Kasper 229/25 3,458,l l3 7/1969 Swartzbaugh 229/44 Primary Examiner-David M. Bockenek Attorney-Connolly and Hutz ABSTRACT: Serving tray comprises receptacle having bottom wall, upwardly extending side wall connected to bottom wall, and peripheral rim or edge. Cup retainer hingedly connected to receptacle has cup-supporting platform spaced from and above peripheral rim of receptacle when retainer is moved about hinge into covering relationship with portion of receptacle. Aperture in cup-supporting platform of retainer is arranged to receive and thereby stabilize cup to prevent it from tipping over.

The present invention relates to a serving tray, and more particularly to a tray with a hinged cup retainer for holding, carrying. and serving foodstuffs, beverages, and analogous products.

Prior to the present invention, numerous serving trays have been proposed for carrying foods and the like away from service counter areas where these items are sold. Such trays facilitate customer service at drive-in theaters and restaurants, stadiums, and snack bars,for example, and usually include a group of cavities dimensioned to receive various food products. Most of the wellknown disposable paperboard trays of the type erected from collapsed form lack sufficient strength especially when a loaded tray is only held by the customer at one end thereof. Although mostof the paperboard serving trays have eliminated the need for glue, staples and stitching, time and effort is required when they are set up in condition for use. Moreover, the. folds and overlaps of paperboard trays require additional amounts of material which contribute to their overall cost. Aside from the cost of producing paperboard trays and the time spent in assembling them. the primary objection to their use is that they'lack the necessary strength to support the food items usually loaded into them. Beverage containers can easily topple in these trays causing distress and inconvenience to both the customer and management of the service area. Inadequate cup or container support contributes significantly to the shortcomings ofthe heretofore available servingtrays whether they be constructed of a paperboard or other materials.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a serving tray that avoids the disadvantages of the prior constructions and which functions in a highly satisfactory and beneficial manner to support food products of the type usually sold at service counter areas.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a simply constructed serving tray with a hinged cup retainer that supports beverage containers in a maximum stability of the containers and their contents.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a serving tray with a hinged cup retainer that may be nested in other like trays during transportation and storage in such a manner that the nested array c occupies only slightly more space than is necessary to accommodate the arithmetic total of the individual tray wall thicknesses.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a serving tray is provided comprising a wall portion, an upwardly extending side wall portion connected to the bottom wall, and a peripheral rim or edge. The serving tray also has a cup retainer and hinge structure for connecting the retainer to the receptacle. The cup retainer has a cup-supporting platform spaced from and above the peripheral rim of the receptacle when the retainer is moved about the hinge structure into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle. At least one aperture is located in the elevated cup-supporting platform of' the retainer for receiving and thereby stabilizing a cup inserted into the aperture.

The side wall portion of the receptacle includes opposed side and end walls, and the cup retainer may be hinged to the receptacle at one of the end walls. Moreover, the hinge structure can comprise a pair of spaced apart hinges. Preferably, the cup retainer includes a continuous side wall portion with one edge thereof connected to the cup-supporting platform and the opposite edge forming a rim with a portion of the rim connected to the receptacle by the hinge structure.

The present invention also includesa serving tray having a second cup retainer and hinge structure for connecting that retainer to the receptacle at the opposite end wall thereof. Each cup-supporting platform of the two cup retainers may manner which provides have a pair of v cup-receiving apertures for accommodating cups. Also, each of the retainers can be connected to the receptacle by a pair of spaced apart hinges.

Another embodiment of this invention includes a pair of half posts in the side wall portion of the receptacle, one in each of the opposed side walls. A slotted opening in each half post is arranged to receive the rim of the cup retainer when the retainer and receptacle are moved together about the hinge structure to thereby lock the retainer to the receptacle.

. As in the other embodiments of this invention, the hinge structure may comprise a pair of spaced apart hinges.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Novel features and advantages of the present invention in addition to those mentioned above will become apparent to one skilled in the art from a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. I is a side elevational view of a serving tray with a hinged cup retainer according to the present invention;

receptacle which includes a bottom FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the serving tray shown in FIG. I;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of another embodiment .if the present invention;

. FIG. 4 is atop plan view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of still another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the serving tray illustrated in FIG. 5-,

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6; and

FIG. 8 is a fragmentalplan view of alternate hinge Structure for the various serving trays of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring in more particularity to the drawing, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a serving tray 10 having a uniform thickness throughout. The tray is preferably formed of a material which is capable of being molded as a single unit, i.e., integrally molded. Although fiber pulp and the molding procedures associated therewith are particularly satisfactory for this purpose, other suitable materials may be used such as light, strong plastic which may be molded as a one piece unit between mating male and female dies or in other conventional dies.

The serving tray 10 comprises a receptacle 12 for holding foodstuffs such as sandwiches and the like. The receptacle has a bottom wall portion 14 and an upwardly and outwardly extending side wall portion 16 surrounding the bottom wall and connected thereto. A continuous peripheral rim or edge 18 is formed at the upper portion of the side wall 16. Additionally, the serving tray 10 includes a cup retainer 20 connected to the receptacle 12 by hinge structure 22 which includes a continuous straight line of reduced thickness in the material bridging the receptacle andcup retainer. The cup retainer has a cupsupporting platform 24 and a continuous side wall portion 26 with one edge thereof connected to platform 24 and the opposite edge forming a rim 28. A portion of the rim 28 is connected to the receptacle 12 by the hinge structure 22. As explained more fully below, the cupsupporting platform 24 is spaced from and above the peripheral rim 18 of the receptacle when the cup retainer is moved about the hinge structure 22 into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle. A pair of apertures 3.0 are provided in the cup-supporting platform 24 of the retainer 20 for receiving and thereby stabilizing cups 32 or other beverage containers inserted into the apertures and resting upon the bottom wall portion 14 of the a receptacle. Alternatively, the apertures may engage the cups the molded trays from the dies upon which they are formed.

The draft or inclination of the side walls enables a plurality of trays to be stacked one upon the other in nested relationship for easy transportation and storage. As is well known, a nested plurality of trays occupies slightly more space than is necessary to accommodate the arithmetic total of the individual tray wall thicknesses. When a tray is needed, the cup retainer 20 is moved about the hinge structure 22 into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle 12, as shown best in FIG. 1. Such movement positions the cup-supporting platform 24 of the retainer a sufficient distance from the bottom wall portion 14 of the receptacle which distance is approximately equal to twice the depth of the receptacle. Accordingly, when a cup 32 or a similar beverage container is inserted into one of the cupreceiving apertures 30 the portions of the platform 24 defining that aperture stabilize and support the cup at a position thereon which is spaced well above the bottom wall portion 14 of the receptacle to thereby prevent the cup from tipping. With most cups or beverage containers the platform 24 supports the cup at a point above its center of gravity for maximum cup stability. However, regardless of the relationship between the center of gravity of the beverage container and the elevation of the platform 24, the container is supported at a location spaced from and above the peripheral rim of the receptacle for maximum cup stability. As described above, the uncovered portion of the receptacle 12 is utilized for holding, carrying, and serving other foodstuffs. Also, the sidewall portion 26 of the cup-supporting platform functions as an elevated wall against which certain carry-out foods may be rested to increase the capacity of the receptacle l2.

FlGS. 3 and 4 illustrate another serving tray 40 which in many respects is similar in design and construction to the serving tray it} shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Thus, for purposes of convenience and clarity similar parts are identified by the similar reference numerals. The main distinction between the serving trays and 40 is the addition of a second cup retainer to the serving tray 40. The second cup retainer 20' is connected to the slightly larger receptacle 12 by hinge structure 22' which includes a continuous straight line of reduced thickness in the material bridging the receptacle and the second cup retainer. Basically, the serving tray 40 functions to hold, carry, and serve foodstuffs, beverages, and analogous products, much in the same manner as the serving tray 10 except that cups 32 or other beverage containers may be positioned at both ends of the serving tray 40 by the cup-supporting platforms of the cup retainers 20 and 20.

The serving tray 50 shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 comprises a receptacle 52 for holding foodstuffs much in the same manner as the receptacles of the previous embodiments of this invention. Receptacle 52 has a bottom wall portion 54 and an upwardly and outwardly extending side wall portion 56 surrounding the bottom wall and connected thereto. A continuous peripheral rim or edge 58 is formed at the upper portion of the side wall 56 and a cup retainer 60 is connected to the receptacle 52 at one end thereof by hinge structure 62. The hinge structure includes a continuousstraight line of reduced thickness in the material that bridges the receptacle and cup retainer. Like the other embodiments of the present invention,

the cup retainer 60 has a cup-supporting platform 64 and a continuous side wall portion 66 with one edge thereof connected to the platform 64 and the opposite edge forming a rim 68 with a portion of the rim connected to the receptacle 52 by the hinge structure 62. A cup-receiving aperture 70 is provided in the platform 64 of the retainer 60 for accommodating a cup 32 or other beverage container inserted into the aperture. Additional apertures may be located in the cup-supporting platform if desired.

receptacle when the retainer and receptacle are moved together about the hinge structure 62. As shown best in H6.

5, the ortion of the receptacle 52 covered by the retainer 69 has a s ightly lesser depth than the balance of the receptacle.

Accordingly, when the cup retainer is hinged toward the receptacle the peripheral rim 68 snaps into the slotted openings 74 in the half posts 72 and the cup-supporting platform 64 is thereby positioned a sufficient distance from the bottom wall portion 54 of the receptacle. Alternatively, the rim or upper edge of the receptacle could be on a common plane with the half posts rising to a slightly greater height. Thus, when a cup 32 or similar beverage container is inserted into the cup-receiving aperture 70 the portions of the platform 64 defining that aperture stabilize the cup at a location which is spaced well above the bottom wall portion 54 of the receptacle to prevent the cup from tipping.

FIG. 8 illustrates an alternate hinge structure $0 for the various serving trays shown in FlGS. 1-7. Hinge structure 8t comprises a pair of spaced apart hinges which are separated from one another by an opening in the material bridging the receptacle and the cup retainer. Each of the spaced apart hinges has a continuous straight line of reduced thickness in the material between the receptacle and cup retainer to facilitate hinging of these components about that line.

lclaim:

1. A serving tray comprising a receptacle including a substantially planar bottom wall portion, an upwardly extending side wall portion connected to the bottom wall, and a peripheral rim, a cup retainer, and hinge means connecting the cup retainer to the receptacle, the cup retainer including a cup-supporting platform spaced from and substantially above the peripheral rim of the receptacle when the cup retainer is moved about the hinge means into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle, and at least one aperture in the cup-supporting platform of the retainer for receiving a cup.

2. A serving tray as in claim 1 wherein the side wall portion of the receptacle includes opposed side and end walls, and the cup retainer is hinged to the receptacle at one of the end walls.

3. A serving tray as in claim 2 including a second cup retainer and hinge means for connecting the second retainer to the receptacle at the other end wall, the second retainer including a cup-supporting platform spaced from and above the peripheral rim of the receptacle when the second retainer is moved about the hinge means into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle, and at least one aperture in the cup-supporting platform of the second retainer for receiving a cup.

4. A serving tray as in claim 3 wherein each cup-supporting platform has a pair of cup-receiving apertures.

5. A serving tray as in claim 1 wherein the cup retainer includes a continuous sidewall portion with one edge thereof connected to the cupsupporting platform and the opposite edge forming a rim a portion of which is connected to the receptacle by the hinge means.

6. A serving tray as in claim 5 including at least one inwardly depressed half post in the sidewall portion of the receptacle, and a slotted opening in the half post facing the hinge means constructed and arranged to receive the rim of the cup retainer when the retainer is moved about the hinge means into covering relationship with a portion of the receptacle to thereby lock the retainer to the receptacle.

7. A serving tray as in claim 5 wherein the receptacle sidewall portion includes opposed side-and end walls, a pair of half posts, one in each of the sidewalls, and a slotted opening in each half post arranged to receive the rim of the cup retainer when the retainer and receptacle are moved together about the hinge means to thereby lock the retainer to the receptacle.

8. A serving tray as in claim 7 wherein the hinge means comprises a pair of spaced apart hinges.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3866817 *Dec 10, 1973Feb 18, 1975Mobil Oil CorpPlastic packaging tray, particularly for bananas
US3915371 *Jan 28, 1975Oct 28, 1975Keyes Fibre CoNestable tray with cup supporting recess
US3944109 *Nov 9, 1973Mar 16, 1976Fkf Berlin Fleischwaren Und Konservenfabrik, Schulz & Berndt Gmbh & Co. KgCombination serving tray with removable insert for serving means
US4195734 *Nov 6, 1978Apr 1, 1980Boner John OApparatus for transporting medications or the like
US4208006 *Feb 27, 1979Jun 17, 1980Diamond International CorporationMolded pulp tray for beverage and food
US4218008 *Jun 1, 1979Aug 19, 1980Keyes Fibre CompanyContainer holding socket for molded tray
US4368840 *Apr 3, 1981Jan 18, 1983Frito-Lay, Inc.Packaging container
US4494654 *Nov 3, 1982Jan 22, 1985Pizza Hut, Inc.Salad bar insert
US4848627 *Oct 20, 1987Jul 18, 1989Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki KaishaStorage box for vehicles
US4895259 *Mar 2, 1989Jan 23, 1990Container Corporation Of AmericaCollapsible compartmented carton
US5520324 *Sep 1, 1995May 28, 1996Dopaco, Inc.Container for multiple foodstuffs
US5857583 *Sep 18, 1997Jan 12, 1999Tenneco PackagingFood service container with beverage cup holding pocket and covered food compartment
US5881935 *Feb 2, 1998Mar 16, 1999Nifco Inc.Container holding device
US7225927Jul 17, 2003Jun 5, 2007Pactiv CorporationCup holder having frusto-conical cavities
US8408437Aug 14, 2009Apr 2, 2013Allan PonsaaMotorcycle saddlebag apparatus and method
US8960480 *Jan 18, 2011Feb 24, 2015Ronald ClarkClamshell food tray with cup-based latch
US20110210119 *Sep 1, 2011Ronald ClarkClamshell food tray with cup-based latch
US20140110280 *May 24, 2013Apr 24, 2014Ronald ClarkClamshell Food Tray
US20140238982 *Jul 10, 2013Aug 28, 2014Michele Dabney-WiggsSealable sectioned container with recessed compartments
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/561, 206/564, 206/565, D07/507, 206/563, 206/558, 229/904, 229/406, D07/553.4
International ClassificationB65D1/34, B65D1/36
Cooperative ClassificationY10S229/904, B65D1/34, B65D1/36
European ClassificationB65D1/34, B65D1/36