US 3550978 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
DXSPOSABLE FOOD TRAY CARRIER 4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
0.8. CI. 312/108, 2/35 Int. Cl A47b 87/00, A47b 88/00 Field ofSearch 312/108, 293, 351, 345, 350; 21 1/1.3
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1937 Blechman 312/108 2,926,978 3/1960 Mitchell 312/108 3,124,402 3/1964 Rhoads 312/350 2,574,692 11/1951 Davidson et a1. 312/350X Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson Attorney-William J. Ruano ABSTRACT: A disposable container or carrier for food trays comprising a box of paper board construction. Racks or runners of foam plastic material, such as expandable polystyrene, are provided having corrugations or :ribs for supporting opposite edges of the food trays and each having a groove extending along the inner surface of the top portion of the rack to provide a hinge for the top portion. The spring-back tendency of such top portion will effect wedging of the rack to the interior surface of the top of the box without the need of fastening elements for holding the rack against the interior side of the box.
P'ATENTED Bites 1970 INVENTOR.
TED N. MAG E E hi3 ATTORNEY DISPOSABLE FOOD TRAY CARRIER This invention relates to a disposable food tray container which is particularly useful for serving passengers in aircraft and, more particularly, related relates to a tray rack or runner construction which may be easily and quickly assembled in the container-so as to involve minimum manufacturing and maintenance costs.
An outstanding disadvantage of presently used food tray containers in aircraft is that they are generally made of metal which makes the container not only very heavy, especially when filled with food trays, but which require thorough washing after each meal is served, which adds considerably to the maintenance costs of the containers or carriers. In spite of careful washing there is always a potential health hazard involved as the result of imperfect cleaning resulting in breeding of germs which might contaminate the food carried therein.
An object of the present invention is to provide a novel food tray carrier or container which is disposable after a single use, therefore which will eliminate completely any possible health hazard resulting from contaminated food.
A more specific object of the present invention is to provide a tray carrier or container made of cardboard or paperlike construction with novel runners or racks for supporting food trays, which runners are made of foam plastic material of such construction as to become easily attached to-the inside surfaces of the carrier without the need of fastening elements so as to facilitate insertion and assembly in the container.
Other objects and advantages will become more apparent from a study of the following description, taken with the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a top, perspective view of a disposable carrier or container for food trays, wherein the handle is shown in exploded position to more clearly illustrate its construction and wherein one end flap or door of the container is shown in the open position; I
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along line ll-ll of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of one of the runners or racks 7 shown in FIG. 1 for the purpose of supporting trays which are slid thereon and carried inside the container.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 1 of the drawing, numeral 1 generally denotes a cardboard carrier or container of any suitable construction to enable complete closing and opening, when desired, and which may comprise a cardboard box 2 having an integral door 3 with holes 4 punched therein through which may project tabs 5, which are slitted from the side of the box, to hold the door shut. v
The handle may be of plastic material onto which is integrally molded tabs 16 which may be bent immediately alongside handle 15 and inserted through top slots 1'4 of the box before extending into the position shown in FIG. 1.
The most important feature of the present invention relates to the specific construction of the side racks or runners, generally denoted by numeral 7, located on opposite confronting sides of the box. The rack or runner 7 is preferably formed of an integral piece of foam plastic material, such as expandable polystyrene (about .100 inch initial thickness) vacuum formable sheet, with a plurality of tray or shelf supporting portions 10 extending in longitudinal, spaced parallel relationship.
The top of each tray supporting portion 10 is substantially flat so as to directly support food tray 11, shown in dash and dot outline in FIG. 2, (or to support a shelf therefor) and wherein its bottom portions is somewhat angular to provide greater supporting strength, particularly as the trays are slid thereon when filling the container or' removing them therefrom. a
A very important feature of the rack 7 is that an integral top portion 9 thereof, is hinged to the main panel portion 8 thereof by virtue of a slot 9a formed along one side. Panel portions 8 and 9 are normally in the same plane. However, when the rack 7 is slid into the container 2, then by virtue of the fact that the hei ht of the interior of the box is slightly less than the overall heig t of the panel portions 8 and '9 combined, there results a wedging of panel portion 9 causing bending thereof to the position shown in FIG. 3 as well as in FIGS. 1 and 2, wherein the panel portion 9 is shown at a slight angle to panel portion 8. Thus, the top edge of panel 9 frictionally engages the the interior surface of the top of the box or container 2 because of the tendency of the panel portion 9 to straighten and remain in the plane of panel portion 8 by spring action at the hinge joint formed by slot 9a. Thus no fastening means are necessary for holding racks 7 against opposite interior surfaces of box 2. I
A modification is to eliminate slot 94 and slightly taper the top of the rack so as to wedge to the top and bottom inner surfaces of the container, although such arrangement is not as desirable as that shown in FIG. 3. and
Since the groove 9a reduces the thickness of the panel and provides a weakened linear portion, the top panel portion 9 will readily flex or pivot with spring action.
It should be especially noted that the specific construction of the box or container 2 may be varied considerably within the purvue of the present invention. Container 2 is preferably coated on the outer surface with a water repellent, preferably one which forms a fire extinguishing gas or vapor. The racks 7 are also preferably made of a self-extinguishing, foam plastic material so that in case offire, it will have little or no tendency to burn.
Thus it will be seen that l have provided a very efficient food carrier or container having racks, preferably of expandable plastic material, such as styrene, which are not only extremely light but which provide insulation against cold or heat to maintain the food at a predetermined temperature, but most of all, which are of a construction as to greatly facilitate assembly in the container; also, l have provided a carrier and rack construction which is very inexpensive, light in weight and completely disposable after a single use.
While I have'illustrated and described a single specific embodiment of my invention, it will be understood that this is by way of illustration only, and that various changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the following claims.
l. A disposable container for food trays comprising a paper board box with a door at one end, a pair of racks disposed on opposite sides of the interior of said box, each rack comprising a panel having a plurality ofhorizontal, spaced parallel ribs for supporting one side ofa food tray, each p'anel'having a pivotal top extension that tends to spring back to the plane of the rack, the overall height of each panel and extension being slightly greater than the interior height of the box, whereby said extension will wedge against the top inner surface of said box.
2. A disposable container as recited in claim 1, wherein each rack is of foam plastic material which has a groove on the inner surface near the top edge for defining the bottom of said top extension and for providing a pivotal joint therefor.
3. A disposable container as recited in claim 1, wherein each rack is of expandable polystyrene and of foam construction, said rack being corrugated to form said tray supporting ribs, the top inner surface portion of each rack being provided with a groove for forming a pivot for the top portion which tends to springback to the plane of the rack.
4. A disposable container as recited in claim 3, wherein top portion of each rib extends substantially horizontally and wherein the side portion of each rib extends angularly to the top portion to form a rigid support for the food trays.