US 3563409 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Everett W. Gray 700 Hammond St., Bangor, Maine 04401  Appl. No. 817,744
 Filed Apr. 21, 1969  Patented Feb. 16, 1971  inventor  DEVICE TO ENABLE VERTICAL STACKING OF MARINE GASOLINE TANKS OR CONTAINERS  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,173,574 3/1965 Goldsmith 220/97(B) v Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney- Kimmel, Crowell & Weaver ABSTRACT: A device for supporting, a plurality of containers or tanks in vertically stacked relationship relative to one another, the device comprising an elongated substantially rectangular quadrilateral plate having means projecting from one side thereof cooperating with means on the upper end wall of a conventional first or lowermost marine gasoline tank or container to prevent inadvertent or accidental longitudinal and lateral shifting of the plate and said first tank relative to one another; and means on said plate projecting laterally from an opposed side thereof to releasably receive therein means cooperating therewith on the lower end of a second conventional marine gasoline tank to prevent inadvertent or accidental longitudinal and/or lateral relative movement between said plate and said second marine gasoline container or tank.
DEVICE TO ENABLE VERTICAL STACKING OF MARINE GASOLINETANKS OR CONTAINERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The purchasing public is making increasingly greater de mands for power operated boats.- The demand is not only generated as a necessity for transportation, but in addition, sports such as hunting, fishing, skiing and other related forms of sports or athletics have produced a modest sized fleet of boats of varying carrying capacity. In those boat models having limited carrying capacity storage space for edibles, potables, and for fuelis necessarily quite limited. Most of the conventional power operated boats utilize internal combustion engines as their power source, and consequently, the cruising range of such boats is limited to the capacity of the main gasoline tank or container which may be supplemented by one or more reserve marine gasoline tanks or containers.
A large number of the open cockpit type of boat are equipped with a main gasoline and such reserve marine gasoline tanks as may be provided, and are normally supported on the floor of the cockpit. These tanks are usually found to be disposed in side-by-side relationship relative to one another, or in end-to-end positioning with respect to each other. This results in the loss of space which would otherwise be available for utilization in differing manners. In most boats not equipped with permanently installed gas tanks or containers, means are provided for restraining the main refillable gas tank against movement occasioned by the pitch and yaw of the boat under adverse weather conditions. No such means is ordinarily provided for the auxiliary or reserve gasoline tanks or containers, and under such conditions, the last named tanks are free tomove unrestrained over the floor of the cockpit thereby creating the possibility of potential injury to the occupants as well as damage to the boat hull that could result in the total loss or destruction of the boat.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates, primarily, to the provision of means which will permit the vertical stacking of marine gasoline tanks in order to conserve boat floor space. As such, the device according to this invention comprises an insert for interposition between the boats main gasoline supply tank or container, and a second or reserve marine gasoline tank positioned thereover. The interposed member is so constructed as to cooperate with elements formed on the upper end of the main gasoline supply tank and elements on the lower end of the auxiliary or reserve marine gasoline supply tank to prevent movement of the tanks and the interposed member relative to one another. At the same time, this invention proposes to construct the interposed member in such 'a manner as to enable the same to serve multiple purposes and functions. Thus, and in accordance with one of the primary objects of this invention, namely, the conservation of space in boats, it is proposed to construct the abovementioned interposed member or device in such a manner as to function as a tray for foods, tools, and/or other objects necessary to have at hand under the prevailing circumstances; to construct the member in such a manner as to enable the same to serve as table means when mounted on the main gasoline tank or container; to serve as a removable seat means when mounted on the main gasoline supply tank or container to accommodate a passenger in excess of the normal complement of seats provided through the original boat construction; and to serve in other capacities not hereabove specifically stated.
For a further and more detailed disclosure of the invention reference is now made to the following specification when read in conjunction with the annexed drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the device constructed in accordance with this invention in its mounted position on a main marine gasoline tank or container;
FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged detail transverse cross-sectional view, FIG. 3 being taken substantially on the vertical plane of line 33 of FIG. 1, looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged detail longitudinal cross-sectional view, FIG. 4 being taken substantially on the vertical plane of line 4-4 of.FIG. 1, looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged bottom plan view of the device as constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the device according to this invention shown in its operative position mounted on the upper end of the main marine gasoline fuel tank orcontainer and showing an auxiliary or reserve marine gasoline tank or container as being mounted thereon in stacked relationship relative to the main tank or container; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary detail cross-sectional view illustrating details of the assembly shown in FIG. 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now specifically to the drawings, reference numeral 10 designates, in general, a device constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention for supporting, in vertically stacked relationship, a pair of marine gasoline tanks. In particular, the supporting device 10 is seen to comprise an elongated substantially rectangular plate or main body portion 12 which is constructed. of any suitable plastic material offering resistance to deterioration caused by the presence of gasoline and oil. The composition of the material should be also resistant to physical changes as a consequence of exposure to the ambient atmosphere. The plate 12, according to this preferred embodiment, has rounded or arcuate corners 14 to avoid presentation of sharp edges which could cause physical injury or snag in clothing. At each of the four comers of the plate or main body portion 14 there is provided upright laterally projecting arcuate abutment flanges 16, the function of which will be described infra. At 18 is denoted a transversely extending opening to enable the reading of a gasoline gauge to which reference will be made below.
Projecting laterally from the underside of the plate or main body portion 12 and at each respective end thereof, there is provided a substantially semicylindrical lug 20. As is seen in the several FIGS. of the drawings, the apices of the lugs 20 fall substantially on the longitudinal axis of the plate or main body portion 12 with the arcuate sidewalls 21 thereof being remotely disposed relative to one another.
Also projecting laterally from the underside of the plate or main body portion 12 and centrally located with respect thereto is a cruciform centrally located block 22. The block 22 includes a substantially solid transversely extending beam 24 which is centrally interrupted by a longitudinally extending substantially hollow rectangular or quadrilateral downwardly opening housing 26. The beam 24, as will be seen clearly in FIG. 2 of the drawings, if formed with downwardly facing concave bottom walls 28, and downwardly diverging end walls 30. At least one side of the beam 24, intermediate its ends, is formed with a recess 31 to serve a function to be described. The housing 26 is comprised of a pair of opposed laterally spaced sidewalls 32 and a pair of longitudinally spaced end walls 34, all of which cooperate to serve a purpose to be defined below.
This concludes the description of the component elements of the device 10, per se. The subject matter which follows immediately below is directed to a description of one of a pair of identically constructed marine gasoline tanks or containers.
Reference numeral 40 designates, in general, a first conventionally constructed marine gasoline tank or container, and for the purposes of describing this invention, this tank will be considered the main gasoline fuel supply tank for the internal combustion engine of a boat (not shown). The second of these tanks or containers bears the general reference numeral 42. This second tank or container, it will be understood, will hold an auxiliary or reserve supply of gasoline fuel. The terms main and auxiliary or reserve gasoline tanks as used herein are only for the purpose of identifying a given tank with respect to the drawings. Obviously, the tank connected to the motor becomes the main tank, whether positioned above or below the device 10, the other of the tanks functioning thus in a reserve capacity.
Each tank is conventional in construction and includes an elongated substantially rectangular bottom wall 44 from the peripheral marginal edge of which laterally and downwardly projects a depending continuous peripheral flange 45. Generally, the bottom wall 44 and the flange 45 are so formed as to define a continuous peripheral groove 45A extending upwardly and inwardly of their respective tanks 40 or 42. A pair of longitudinally extending elongated substantially rectangular sidewalls 46 are fixedly connected onthe bottom wall 44 in laterally spaced and substantially parallel confronting relationship relative to one another. Extending transversely across the adjacent pairs of ends of the sidewalls 46 is a pair of longitudinally spaced substantially rectangular parallel and confronting end walls 48. The upper ends of each of the tanks or containers 40, 42 are closed by an elongated top wall 50, and preferably, the side, end and top walls are integrally connected together.
In the usual manner, each of the containers or tanks 40, 42 is provided with a centrally located longitudinally extending handle means 52 fixedly connected to the outer side of the top wall 50. The handle means 52 is of a generally inverted substantially U-shaped configuration and includes a bight portion 520 from each end of which depends an arm 52b. The lower end of each of the arms 52b is fixedly secured to the top wall 50 by conventional means (not shown) Reference numerals 54 each denote a gasoline line receiving and retaining bracket of conventional design and construction. Each bracket is disposed, respectively, adjacent one end of its respective associated marine gasoline tank or container. With specific reference to FIG. 7 of the drawings, each of the brackets 54 is seen to comprise an upwardly projecting lug 56 fixedly connected to the top wall 50, and from the upper end of each of the bosses 56 laterally projects a normally horizontal base 58. Each base 58, at its outer end, terminates in a normally upright shoulder 60, and as is seen in the drawings, the brackets 54 are essentially of a concave-convex configuration with each pair of related brackets having their respective concave sides confronting one another. The brackets are utilized in the usual manner, that is, the gasoline line, when not operatively connected with the internal combustion engine of the boat, is generally wound around the brackets 54.
Reference numeral 62 generally designates conventional line connector means for connecting a gasoline line 64 in operative relationship with the internal combustion engine of the boat which is to be fueled. The connector means 62 also includes the usual gas gauge 63. The connector means 62 is of conventional construction and is here shown as being secured to the top wall 50 of the main gasoline tank 40 as by bolt means 63. ln the usual manner, the gasoline line 64 has a line pressurizing means 66 connected therein to serve its usual function. Each of the marine gasoline tanks or containers 40, 42 is provided with a conventional removable tank cap 68 to enable the tanks to be refilled.
Tc utilize the stacking device 10 for its intended functions, the device 10 may be brought into juxtaposition relative to the main tank 40 with the underside thereof facing the top wall 50 of the tank 40. The device 10 is so positioned as to cause the housing 26 to be aligned with the handle means 52 and the lugs are aligned with the brackets 54. Thereafter, the device 10 may be turned in the direction of the arrows shown in H6. 2, or moved downwardly if the relationship between the top wall 50 and the device 10 is more nearly parallel, to cause the housing 26 to receive the handle means 52 therein with the lugs 20 engaging within their respective adjacent ones of the brackets 54. In this position (see FIGS. 4, 6 and 7) the lower ends of each of the lugs 20 will seat against their respective adjacent one of the bases 58, and with their respective sidewalls 21 seating in the concave sides of the shoulders 60. The housing 26 now completely and closely circumscribes the handle means 52 in close proximity relative thereto (see FIGS. 3 and 6). The thickness of each of the lugs 20 is such as to support the plate 12 in vertically spaced relationship relative to the cap 68 and the line connector means 62.
As is seen in FIG. 3, the generally concave side 28 of the beam 24 mates with the upper side of the top wall 50 to fit snugly thereagainst. The beam 24, taken together with the lugs 20 (which are snugly received within their adjacent bracket 54) cooperate to prevent any tilting movement of the plate 12 about its longitudinal axis and also act to prevent any shifting of the plate 12 transversely of its connected tank 40. Additionally, the lugs 20, taken with their associated brackets 54, prevent any longitudinal shifting of the plate 12 relative to the tank 40.
The primary function of the device 10 is, as has been mentioned above, to enable the user tovertically stack a pair of marine gasoline tanks. To this end, reference is again made to the construction of the tanks 40, 42. v
The bottom wall 44 of each of the tanks 40, 42 is rounded at each respective corner thereof, and consequently, the continuous depending peripheral flange 45 and the grooves 45A at these areas is arcuately shaped. Thus, the radius of the outer side of each of the flanges 16 is slightly smaller than the radius of the curvature of the inner side of each of the flanges 45 whereby, when the tank 42 is lifted above the device 10 and superimposed thereon, each of the flanges 16 will snugly nest within the adjacent arcuate comer groove portion 45A as defined supra, with those proximate portions of the flanges 45 substantially mating with the adjacent one of the abutment flanges 16. The superimposed gasoline tank 42 is thus securely held against any shifting movement relative to the device 10 and/or the lower main tank 40. The interlocking action of the flanges 16 within the adjacent portions of the flange 45 also stabilize the tank 42 against longitudinal tilting movement relative to the plate 12. Also, in the superimposed assembly, the opening 18 becomes aligned with the gauge means 63 to enable the reading thereof, and the recess 31 receives an adjacent portion of the conduit or line 64 therein to lessen the frictional wear or the chafing thereof against the beam 24.
lt is common knowledge that the weight of gasoline in the conventional marine gas tank or container when filled is quite appreciable. Thus, an inspection of the bottom wall 44 of the filled gas tanks 40, 42 will disclose that the bottom wall 44 thereof will bulge downwardly and outwardly. Consequently, the flanges 16 are constructed of sufficient height so that when the same are engaged within the corners of the groove 45A, the bulged portion of the wall 44 will be supported above the upper planar surface of the plate 12. Engagement of the wall 44 with the plate 12 would give rise to undesired instability and would tend to defeat the purpose of this invention.
In the assembly described immediately above it will be recognized that the tank 42 is firmly but releasably secured on the tank 40 without the use of tie-down straps, or tools. There is obtained greater cockpit floor space and a greater degree of safety to passengers.
The device 10 may serve other purposes when its utility as a stacking device is not required. For example, with the device 10 mounted in the manner shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the device 10 may serve as an auxiliary seat for a boat passenger, or if desired, the device 10 may serve as a table top to support chinaware or eating utensils if desired. The device 10 could, obviously, be utilized in the assembly of FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, be employed as a tool support when making boat repairs, and/or it may be used as a tray for supporting various objects which may be passed between several passengers. Other uses will become apparent to those skilled in this art.
This invention herein involved is defined in the appended claims.
I. In combination, a plurality of identical hollow liquid receiving containers and a device for effecting the vertical stacking of said containers, and wherein:
each of said containers includes an elongated top wall having pairs of opposed sidesand ends, respectively, pairs of 5 opposed side and end walls depending, respectively, from said sides and ends of said top wall, a bottom wall having opposed sides and ends, respectively, flange means depending from said bottom wall, said flange means being provided with a plurality of inwardly opening faces cooperating with said bottom wall to define a groove extending inwardly of said container, and bracket means on each end of said top wall, each bracket means including a normally horizontal base and upright shoulder, each shoulder having an inwardly opening concave side formed therein with the concave sides being disposed in spaced confronting relationship relative to one another;
and wherein said device comprises an elongated plate having a pair of opposed sides and ends, respectively, said plate being inserted between the top wall of the lowermost first container and the bottom wall of the next upper second container;
means projecting laterally from one side of said plate adjacent each end thereof for releasable connection, respectively, within one of saidbrackets on said top wall of said first container and cooperating therewith to prevent longitudinal and transverse movement of said first container and said second plate relative to one another, said connecting means comprising a substantially semicylindrical lug for each of said brackets, said lugs being supported on their respective associated bracket base and nesting within the concave side of its adjacent shoulder;
said second container being juxtaposed over said plate with the flange of said second container superimposed against the other side of said plate;
and means projecting laterally from the other side of said plate and releasably engaging said flange faces to prevent the inadvertent longitudinal and lateral shifting move ment of said second container relative to said plate.
2. The combination as defined in claim 1 and stabilizer and support means projectinglaterally secured said one side of said plate and transversely thereof intermediate its ends, said stabilizer means being contoured to releasably engage and substantially span the upper side of said first container top wall. I
3. The combination 1 wherein said first container includes handle means secured on said top wall and extending upwardly and centrally therefrom; and wherein said device further includes,
stabilizer and support means projecting laterally from said one side of said plate, said stabilizer and support means having a cruciform configuration comprising a beam extending transversely of said plate intermediate its said ends and having a downwardly opening side configured to mate with the upper side of said first container top wall, and downwardly diverging end walls; and
said beam being interrupted intermediate its ends by a downwardly opening substantially hollow housing to receive and house said handle means therein.
4. The combination as defined in claims 3 wherein said housing includes oppositely disposed pairs of side and end walls, respectively.
5. The combination as defined in claim 4 wherein said second container flange is rounded at each comer thereof, and said means cooperating with said second container flange comprises an arcuate flange for each of said corners of said second container flange and releasably mating therein.
6. The combination as defined in claim 5 wherein said containers comprise tanks normally filled with gasoline for fueling an internal combustion engine via conduit and coupler means and including a gasoline gauge; and said plate is provided with a transversely extending opening aligned with said gauge to render the latter visible.
7. The combination as defined in claim 6 wherein said beam is provided with a recess opening at one of its ends into one of said downwardly diverging end walls, said recess receiving an adjacent portion of said conduit means therein.