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Publication numberUS3547309 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 15, 1970
Filing dateJan 24, 1969
Priority dateJan 24, 1969
Publication numberUS 3547309 A, US 3547309A, US-A-3547309, US3547309 A, US3547309A
InventorsPusey Philip, Toto Louis R
Original AssigneeChester County Mushroom Sales
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stackable and nestable plastic lugs
US 3547309 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

0 United States Patent 11113,547,309

72] inventors Philip Pusey References Cited Kennett Square; UNITED STATES PATENTS Landenbergi 3,147,882 9/1964 Waters 220/97 [2]] App]. No. 793,754 3,326,410 6/1967 Asenbauer 220/97 1 Filed 1969 3,360,162 12/1967 Miles 220/97 [451 Famed 3,393,827 7/1968 Asenbauer 220/97 1 Asslgnee g 32"" 3,416,704 12/1968 Flfllel' 220/97 orpora n Avondak Pa. FOREIGN PATENTS corporation ofpennsyhmnia 1,467,165 12/1966 France 220/97(D) Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney-Me Carthy, Depaoli 8L OBrien ABSTRACT: Lugs, nestable when empty, having interfitting locking arrangements so that they can be stacked, when loaded with goods, in selective lengthwise and crosswise interlaced arrangements on a pallet; each lug being molded from a high density polyethylene in a container form with a bottom, [54] g 'gig g g a g PLA LUGS opposing ends and sides and and open top, the ends and sides C 8 having indented vertical reinforcing posts terminatingat the [52] 11.8. C1. top in projecting fingers lying inwardly of and below the upper edges of the ends and sides and the bottom being adapted to [51] int. Cl. seat on the posts and having apertures adapted to receive the locking fingers of an underneath lug with the sides being Field of Search formed with handgrip means for singly or in side-by-side pairs manually handling the lugs.

PATENTED BEE] 51970 SHEET 2 0F 3 INVENTORS DHELIP PUSEY5 LOUIS RTOTO YWQMJAMDRQAQQLFHOQMM ATTORNEYS PATENTEU DEC] 5 I970 SHEEI Z5 BF 3 INVENTORS Pmu PUSEY 6? Lou \s R .ToTO

BY Wk 9 943mm Fr (Q'Qxim ATTORNEYS STACKABLE AND NESTABLE PLASTIC LUGS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention generally appertains to improvements in unit containers and, more specifically, is directed to new and novel improvements in the construction of a tote box or lug, which may be defined as a box or basket type container particularly suitable and adapted for toting or transporting goods, such as fruit and vegetables.

2. Description of the Prior Art Probably the best exemplary illustration of the state of this art can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 2,064,518, issued Dec. 15, 1936 to Ronald R. Brogden. Such patent discloses a unit container with the unit containers being nestable when empty and being stackable in an interlocked or interlaced lengthwise stacked relationship on a pallet or similar support, when in use, that is, when carrying a load of fruit, vegetables or any similar loose type article.

Molded one-piece containers, such as a Brogden unit container, are much more feasible than the more commonly used wooden baskets since such containers are easily cleaned and sterilized at temperatures to eliminate the sanitation problems posed by wooden baskets, as well as eliminating the danger of wooden splinters in canned food products. Furthermore, such containers are more resistant to impact and are not as fragile as commonly used wooden baskets. While containers, such as those disclosed in the Brogden patent, overcome the defects attendant with the use of commonly known and utilized wooden baskets, such unit containers are not widely accepted in the industry, speaking particularly of the agricultural industry, because of the high cost attendant with such containers, the difficulty in palletizing the loaded containers for volume movement and the fragile nature of such containers.

Therefore, while such containers do overcome the problems attendant with the utilization of wooden baskets, nonetheless, they possess certain inherent drawbacks which have impeded widespread acceptance and utilization of molded one-piece container units. Such drawbacks may be generally stated as residing in the design of the container units, so that they can only be stacked on a pallet in a particular manner or restricted stack formation, thereby rendering them difiicult to palletize for volume movement; the fragile construction of such container units so that they are not highly resistant to impact at low temperatures; and, the difficulty of handling the container units when they are empty as well as when they are full, particularly when they are full in stacking them on a pallet or removing them from a stacked relationship on the pallet, which stacking and removal is carried out manually and must be done in a time and space-saving manner so as to not unduly tie up valuable plant area during loading and unloading of the filled container units.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention reduces handling costs and container costs by providing a novelly designed tote box or lug, utilized for volume movements of fruit and vegetables particularly mushrooms, with the lug being provided, in integral association and formation therewith, interlocking arrangements on the upper edges of its side and end walls and on its bottom wall so that the similarly designed lugs can be easily and simply stacked on a pallet in varying and selective crosswise and lengthwise interlaced or interlocked relationships. This decreases the time necessary for stacking the loaded lugs and also permits them to be handled easier and without any particular exercise of skill and dexterity on the part of the laborers.

The lug of the present invention is molded in one piece from a long life high density polyethylene and is highly resistant to impact at low temperatures, being formed in a one piece structure with reinforced end and sidewalls.

Another advantage of the container or lug of the present invention stems from its peculiar onepiece plastic form whereby it is highly resistant to impact at low temperatures. This stems from the provision of side and end reinforcing posts, which indentation posts also support, at their nesting edges, projecting fingers that are adapted to selectively interengage with receptively arranged apertures formed in the bottom wall of the lugs or containers when they are interlaced or interlocked in stacked relationship, either lengthwise or crosswise, since the openings are arranged to effect a high degree of selectivity in carrying out the stacking, with the projections on the reinforcement posts being adapted to fit in the apertures either in crosswise or lengthwise and in varying crosswise and lengthwise stacked arrangements.

Additional advantages reside in the formation of lugs or containers from long life high density polyethylene so that they can be easily cleaned at sterilizing temperatures and the construction of the lugs or containers so that they can be easily handled by one or two workman working together in loading and unloading the lugs onto and from a pallet and the design of the lugs or containers so that they possess a high degree of space-saving nestability so to free valuable plant area for processing operations or products storage.

Accordingly, in view of the foregoing advantages, it can be appreciated that a primary object of the present invention is to provide a low-cost and novelly designed lug which is formed with an integral interlocking arrangement attendant with its side and end wall constructions and bottom wall construction so that loaded lugs can be palletized for volume movement with the lugs being adapted to be securely stacked in various interlaced patterns, either lengthwise or crosswise or crosswise and lengthwise on a supporting pallet without any wobbling.

Another important object of the present invention is to provide a novelly designed lug or container which is formed from a high density polyethylene in a reinforced manner so that it is highly resistant to impact at low temperatures while being easy to clean at sterilizing temperatures and having, inter se, a space-saving nestability.

A further important object of the presentinvention is to provide an extremely streamlined, compact and easily handled lug or container which possesses an extremely high degree of stackability when full, and yet which can be handled with a high degree of a manipulatability whether singly or in pairs, as workmen load or unload the lugs or containers onto and from a supporting pallet for volume movement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container or lug constructed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plane view of the lug shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal vertical sectional view, taken substantially on line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a transverse, cross-sectional view taken substantially on line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a perspective showing of a plurality of the lugs or containers of FIG. 1 in an empty nesting relationship with the side and end walls being shown without the air openings for the sake of clarity.

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a plurality of the full lugs or containers of FIG. 1 (without the vented side and end wall I design) and showing the same in vertical stacked orientation on a supporting pallet with the lugs being interlaced by virtue of the interlocking means carried thereby in lengthwise and crosswise running relationship.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one comer section of the stacked lugs or containers of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a detailed vertical sectional view, taken substantially on line 8-8 of FIG. 5, which shows the empty lugs and in a nested relationship.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, detailed cross-sectional view taken substantially on line 9-9 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a detailed, longitudinal vertical sectional view taken substantially on line 10-10 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 11 is a perspective showing of a pair of the lugs or containers, illustrating the manner in which the pair can be held by one workman while being handed to an associated workman who grabs the lugs in two hands so as to obtain and release then from the hold of the first workman.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The container or lug, generally designated by the reference numeral 10, is molded in one piece from long life high density polyethylene or other similar plastics and is of overall rectan- 'gular shape or configuration. Thus, the lug has a bottom wall l2, opposing longitudinal sidewalls l4 and 16 and opposing transverse end walls 18 and 20. The side and end walls upstand from the peripheral side and end edges of the bottom wall at a slight outwardly inclined angle, whereby the open oblong top 22 is of slightly greater length and width then the rectangular bottom wall 12.

The opposing sidewalls and end walls are formed with upper and lower rows 24 and 26 of rectangular, vertically oriented openings or cutouts 28, the rows 24 and 26 being provided on the end portions of the walls, as can be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 1 and 3. The bottom wall 12 is provided with circular drain openings 30 which are formed in iongitudinal and transverse rows.

The opposing end walls 18 and 20 are centrally provided with "vertically disposed reinforcing posts 32 and 34 which are in the form of integral indentations. The posts 32 and 34 are integrally cast or molded with the end walls and are in the form of inset intrusions or indentations of the centermost portions of the end walls with the posts being disposed in longitudinal alignment and in confronting relationship lengthwise intermediate the center of the lug. The posts 32 and 34 are hottomly disposed within the interior of the lug or container and are of frustotriangular cross-sectional configuration, so that they have inwardly sloping sidewalls 36 and an inner facial or front wall 38 which is parallel with the end walls, the front wall 38 being inclined upwardly and outwardly from the bottom wall and lying parallel with its associated end wall, as can be be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 2.

The inwardly sloped sidewalls 36 of the posts have outer surfaces which are spaced apart in defining the somewhat triangular groove on the outer surfaces of the end walls, as can be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 1 and 3.

The end posts 32 and 34 terminate in flat upper ends or top walls 40 which lie below the coplanar upper edges 42 of the end walls and coplanar upper edges'44 of the sidewalls, the edges 42 and 44 lying in the same plane and forming a rim surrounding the top walls 40 of the end posts. The end posts are provided at the top walls 40 with upstanding fingers or projections 46 which are spaced inwardly from the upper edges 42 of the end walls and which have their free ends terminating slightly below the plane of the upper edges 42 of the end walls.

The opposing sidewalls are provided with center reinforcing posts 48 and 50 which are formed integral with the sidewalls and are cast or molded in association with the sidewalls l4 and 16 in the same manner that the end posts 32 and 34 are formed integral with the end walls. Thus, the side reinforcing posts'48 and 50 have inwardly sloped sidewalls 52 and a rather large front wall or inner face 54, which is coplanar with the inner surfaces of the opposing sidewalls, as can be appreciated from the configuration of FIG. 2. The front walls 54 of the side reinforcing posts 48 and 50 and the front walls 38 of the end posts are provided adjacent their lower end portions with rectangular vertical openings or cutout portions 28a that are of the same design and size as the openings 28.

The side reinforcing posts are formed with flat upper ends or top walls 56 which lie below the upper side edges 44 and which are substantially coplanar with the flat top walls or upper ends 40 of the end posts. The upper ends or top walls 56 of the side posts are provided with upstanding fingers or projections 58, which are identical to the fingers 46, and are providedat the ends of the upper ends or top walls 56, that is, ad-

jacent the inwardly inclined sidewalls 52 of the side posts. The fingers 58 lie inwardly of the upper edges of the sidewalls at the same distance as the fingers 44 lie inwardly of the upper edges of the end walls and have their upper terminating, free edges lying coplanar with the free edges of the fingers 46 on the end posts. The confronting front walls 54 of the opposing side posts are provided adjacent the upper ends or top walls 56 with elongated, elliptical, hand-receiving cutouts 60. The inner surfaces of the sidewalls are provided on opposite sides of the indented reinforcing posts 48 and 50 and adjacent the upper edges 44 of the sidewalls with lined, roughened, gripping areas 62.

The hand cutouts 60 are disposed at the same place and at same height on the front walls of the side posts so that, when a pair of lugs 10a and 10b, as illustrated in FIG. 11, are disposed in side-by-side relationship, such pair of lugs can be easily picked up by a single workman, who can easily insert hishand H, as shown in FIG. 11, through the registering cutouts 60 in the side posts. The front walls of the side posts of each of the held side-by-side lugs 10a and 10b are spaced apart while the sidewalls have their outer surfaces in engagement so that the upper edges of the confronting and engaging sidewalls of the lugs 10d and 10b are tight together whereas the handgrip cutouts 60 are spaced apart. This achieves a measure of balance in that the side by side lugs 10a and 10b tend to have their adjoining side edges swing into abutting relation adjacent the bottom walls. This is due not only to the nature and formation of the side posts but also due to the upward inclination of the sidewalls of the adjoining lugs 10a and 10b. In such position, the upper edges are held tight together by the single hand H and this is easily accomplished without placing any strain on the workmans arm since the lower edges of the sidewalls abut together about the hinge handgrip, thus reducing the carrying load.

In such side-by-side held engagement, the lugs 10a workman and 10b can easily be removed from a pallet or similar support and handed to an associated workman. The associated workman grasps the two lugs 10a and 10b by placing his hands H on the upper edges with his fingers gripping the roughened areas or portions 62 on the inner surface of the sidewall of the lug 10a, while his thumbs grip the roughened areas 62 on the inner surface of the sidewall of the companion lug 10b. In such manner, the lugs can be handed from one workman to another without any possibility of dropping the lugs and in a manner that is relatively easy and can be accomplished with a simple amount of dexterity and skill.

As can be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 5, wherein a plurality of lugs 10 are in nested relationship (the end and sidewalls being shown as plain and without the cutout openings28 for the purpose of clarity of illustration). the lugs 10 due to their design, with regard particularly to the upwardly and outwardly inclined formation of the side and end walls in relation to the bottom wall and the carrying out of such design in the formation of the side and end posts, can be easily and simply nested in their empty stacked relation.

It can be appreciated from a consideration of FIGS. 1 and 5, that the end and sidewalls of the lugs 10 are formed at their upper edges with an overhanging beading 64 that is provided with vertical reinforcing webs 66 which extend from the underside of the overhanging beading down to the upper row 24 of the cutouts 28 in the end portions of the side and end walls, with the reinforcing webs 66 being disposed on the opposite sides of the corners at the upper edges thereof.

The bottom wall 12 of each of the lugs is formed with a centrally disposed, transversely extending reinforcing rib 68, which extends from a center point to the lower edges of the front walls of the side posts 48 and 50. The center point 70 is the high point of the bottom wall with the bottom wall having its opposing end portions sloping outwardly and downwardly from the center point, thereby providing good drainage for the lugs with any foreign matter, water or fluid, draining off from the goods deposited in the lug through the drainage openings 30. The rib 68 serves as a reinforcement for the side posts as well as a reinforcement for the bottom wall and the high center point 70 thereof. The bottom wall rises toward the center point and is held out of seated engagement on a supporting surface with only the edges of the wall seating on the support The bottom wall is provided with elliptical cutout portions or openings 72 that are of a configuration to accommodate the projections or fingers 46 or 58 on the end and side posts. The cutouts 72 are formed in the bottom wall along and adjacent the lower edge of the sidewalls and along and adjacent the lower edge of the end walls with cutout portions 72a being provided on opposite sides of the end posts and a pair of cutout portions 72b being provided on opposite ends of the side posts, as can be clearly appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 2. By virtue of such arrangement of the cutout portions 72, there is no interference with the strength of the bottom wall or its carrying capacity and yet the cutout portions are arranged on the bottom wall along the inside of the sidewalls and end walls in such a way that the lugs can be stacked in selective and varying crosswise and lengthwise interlaced or interlocked arrangements.

One of such arrangements is illustrated in FIGS. 6, 7, 9 and 10. With attention to such FIGS. of the drawings, the lowermost or bottom layer 74 of the stacked full or loaded lugs is seated directly on the upper surface of the supporting pallet 76 and is disposed lengthwise thereon, with the lugs of the bottom or base layer 74 being in side-by-side row arrangement. The next layer 78 of the lugs is arranged in crisscross relationship and is tied in with the lowermost layer 74 of lengthwise extending layer 10 as can be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 7. As shown therein, the endwise arranged lugs 10 of the intermediate layer 78 are disposed transversely of the rows of the lowermost or base layer 74, on the pallet 76 with the lugs of the layer 78 arranged transversely and bridging the side-byside lugs of the lowermost layer 74 and the underside of the center transverse rib 68 receiving the upper edges of the adjoining sidewalls of the side-by-side lugsof the bottom layer while the ends of the sidewalls seat on the upper walls of the side posts. Thus, the transversely bridging lugs of the layer 78 are interlocked with the projecting fingers of the side and end posts of the side-by-side lugs 10 of the lowermost or base layer 74. The layer 78 is also made up of lengthwise extending lugs which bridge the adjoining ends of the end to end lugs of the lowermost layer 74, as can be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 7. The next layer 80 is made up of lengthwise rows of lugs, with the lengthwise extending lugs 10 of such top layer 80 bridging adjoining lengthwise and transverse lugs of the intermediate layer 78, as can be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 7.

FIG. 7 is merely illustrative in detail of one particular stacking formation and, from consideration of FIG. 7,.it can be appreciated that many different interlaced arrangements can be provided with an unlimited number of layers and with the lugs of the layers being arranged in different lengthwise and crosswise, interlocked arrangements, whereby a large number of loaded lugs can be stacked in a secure and interlocked placement on a supporting pallet for volume movement, with the layers of lugs being secure and free from any tendency to wobble or tip. The lugs of one layer are interlocked with the lugs of an upper and lower layer through the projecting fingers on the upper ends of the end and side posts and the cutouts in the bottom walls with the bottom walls seating on the upper ends of the posts and being locked thereon by the projections.

In the nesting of the lugs, as shown in FIG. 5, the webs 66 serve as stops to limit the nesting of the lugs and prevent the lugs from becoming tightly wedged together.

We claim:

l. A lengthwise and crosswise stacking and nesting lug comprising a molded plastic oblong container having a bottom wall and upstanding side and end walls, said side and end walls having coplanar beaded upper edges, said end walls having integral indentations vertically formed inwardly thereof from the bottom wall to a point spaced below the upper edges, said indentations defining posts having open bottom ends and closed flat upper ends and having vertical walls, said end posts being positioned centrally between the sidewalls and disposed in alignment at the longitudinal centerline of the container, an upstanding finger on the upper end of each post, said fingers being spaced inwardly from the edges of the end walls and having an upper free end disposed at least coplanar with or below the upper edges of the end walls, said sidewalls being formed centrally between the end walls with indentations of a substantially greater width but of the same height as the indentations on the end walls and defining side posts, said side posts having open bottom ends and closed flat upper ends which are coplanar with the upper ends of the end posts, said side posts having vertical walls and said side posts being disposed in alignment transversely of the longitudinal axis of the container and lying centrally between the end walls, said upper ends of the side posts having upstanding fingers formed adjacent their outer comers with the fingers being spaced inwardly from the side edges and being of the same size and height as the fingers on the end posts and said bottom wall having substantially flat side and end edges and having apertures formed at each corner of the side and end edges and at the portions of the side edges above which the side posts project, said apertures being of a size for lockingly receiving the fingers so as to hold a plurality of lugs in lengthwise offset and crosswise interlaced stackable relation and said bottom wall being provided with an external groove extending transversely thereof between the side edges and bisecting substantially the center of the bottom ends of the side posts.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein the side posts have front wall portions substantially paralleling the sidewalls and said front wall portions of the side posts are formed slightly below the upper edges of the sidewalls with elongated hand receiving cutout portions that extend along the longitudinal axis of the container.

3. The invention of claim 1 wherein said sidewalls on each side of the side posts and on both their inner and outer surfaces have frictional portions for finger gripping purposes.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent 3. 547. 309 Dated December 15. 1970 Inventor) Philip Busey and Louis R. loto It is certified that error appears in the aboveidentified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 2, Line 3, "nesting should be upper Column 4, Line 36, the word "workman" should be deleted entirely.

Column 4, Line 59, the word shown should be inserted after "are".

Column 5, Lines 1 and 2, "high center point" should be high point center Column 6, Line 54 "claim 1" should be claim 2 Signed and sealed this 22nd day of June 1 971 (SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR. Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

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Classifications
U.S. Classification206/504, 220/23.6, 206/507
International ClassificationB65D21/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/0235, B65D21/0233
European ClassificationB65D21/02F, B65D21/02H