US 3568877 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor Conrad D. Mastrud,Jr.
734 N. Leavitt, Chicago, [I]. 60612  Appl. No. 745,785  Filed July 18,1968  Patented Mar. 9, 1971  TOTE-BOX OR THE LIKE 4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 0.8. CI 220/65, 211/132, 220/97, 229/34  Int. Cl ..B65d25/l6, 865d 5/56  Field olSearch 220/65, 97, 97 (B),97 (A); 229/34; 21 1/126, 132D; 21 U181, 85
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,923,432 2/1960 Stanley 220/97(A)X 3,027,060 3/1962 Beder 206/1ndica FOREIGN PATENTS 1,218,294 12/1959 France Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney-Hofgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman and McCord ABSTRACT: A tote-box having a container with a bottom and upstanding end and sidewalls with a structural framework for strengthening the container and rendering the tote-box stackable with side entry to the container wherein one of the sidewalls of the container is outwardly pivotal to provide side entry access and said structural framework including members encircling the container and coacting with the container for strengthening thereof and rendering the container stackable with other similar units along with structure to lock the container to the framework and to limit the outward pivotal movement of the container sidewall, the container being formable from a one-piece blank of cardboard or the like and wherein color coding can be provided for a variety of toteboxes merely-by preselection of the precolored stock used in forming the containers.
PATENTEDMAR 9|97l 3568- 877 sum 1 OF 2 torn-nos on The LIKE BACKGROUND oF-rne INVENTION This invention pertains to the art of stackable containers commonly known in the industrial field as tote-boxes.
Stackable tote-boxes are known made of wood and metal construction or of molded plastic which commonly have open tops. Although such containers can be stacked when in storage, it is not possible to have access to the contents within the container while the container is beneath the top of the stack. Because of this, it is only possible to utilize a tote-box when it is independent of the stack or at the top thereof which provides a severe limitation to utility. Additionally, many of said tote-boxes are of expensive construction and this limits their field of use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of this invention is to provide a new and improved low-cost portable tote-box providing for stackability thereof and access to the interior through the side thereof whereby the tote-box can be used atall times, whether or not it is in a stack of similar units.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a tote-box having a container of relatively flexible material which can be formed from a blank of cardboard or the like and associated structural framework for strengthening thereof in order to hold parts of substantial weight within the container and with said framework also providing for stackability of a group of similar toteboxes, with the container having at least one movable sidewall movable outwardly relative to the remainder of the container to a limit position without obstruction by the framework.
A further object of the invention is to provide a tote-box having a container and associated framework wherein the container has inclined end walls to have the container fit within a lower member of the framework and have the upper ends of the end walls engage beneath an upper member of the framework disposed in the same vertical plane as said lower member to lock the container to the framework and with the lower member positioned to engage the movable sidewall of the container after movement to a desired limit position to prevent full open movement of the sidewall and resultant spilling of container contents, with the engagement between the container end walls and framework preventing upward tipping of the container relative to the framework as the sidewall reaches its limit position.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a tote-box as defined in the preceding paragraphs wherein the end walls are formed of opposed end panels connected integrally along their upper ends to form a connecting edge and with the movable sidewall having end flaps disposed between the pairs of end panels to provide unobstructed movement of the end flaps and with said end flaps having arcuate edges having a center of curvature differing from that of the pivotal axis of the sidewall to have the height of the end flaps increase as the sidewall moves outwardly and have the arcuate edges of said flaps increasingly frictionally engage the connecting portions of said end panels to additionally provide a self-locking action for the sidewall.
Further objects and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the tote-box embodying this invention with the container sidewall shown in closed position;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing both container sidewalls in an open position providing access to the container interior through the sides thereof;
FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of a stack of tote-boxes with the tote-boxes being shown closed, except for the totebox next to the top having the sidewalls shown in open position, similarly as shown in FIG. 2, whereby access can be had to the interior of the container;
FIG. 4 is a vertical section, on an enlarged scale, taken generally along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a vertical section, taken generally along the line 55 in FIG. 4i with one container sidewall open; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view of one end of the container blank with the opposite end not shown but being of the same construction as that shown.
DESCRIPTION OF A FREE ERRED EMBODIMENT While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail an embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated. The scope of the invention will be pointed out in the appended claims.
A preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in the drawings, with the generally illustrative views being FIGS. 1 to 3. The tote-box embodies two primary components, with one of these being the container, indicated generally at C, and the structural framework, indicated generally at F, which receives the container C. The container is structured to provide a receptacle for holding parts without spillage thereof, while the framework F provides strengthening support for the container C and renders the entire tote-box structure portable and stackable.
Most particularly, the container C has a bottom wall 10 with a pair of upstanding end walls 11 and E2 and a pair of sidewalls 14 and 15. The sidewalls M and 15 are outwardly pivotal from the position shown in FIG. 1 to the position shown in FIG. 2. It will be evident that although both the sidewalls are shown as being outwardly pivotal, it would be optional with the user to have only a single sidewall pivotal, if desired.
Each of the end walls 11 and K2 are formed, as particularly shown in FIG. 4, of a pair of opposed end panels with the inner and outer end panels for end wall 11 being identified at 20 and 21 and the outer and inner end panels for end wall 12 being identified at 22 and 23. Each of these pairs of opposed end panels are formed integrally with a common upper edge 24 and 25, respectively, and with there being a space between each pair of opposed end panels defining a space for receiving end flaps associated with the sidewalls. As shown in FIGS. 2 to 5, a pair of end flaps 30 and 31 are associated with the sidewall 14 and a pair of end flaps 32 and 33 are associated with the sidewall 15. With the spacing between the end panels of the end walls, it is possible for the end flaps 3il33 to move back and forth in said space and at all times be free of interference from material within the container because the end flaps do not move within the open interior of the container. The end flaps function to maintain closed ends for the container at all times. The pairs of end panels are held in associated relation by a pair of tabs 40 and 41 at the free end of each of the inner end panels of each pair engaging in a pair of corresponding slots 42 and 43 formed in the bottom wall 10 of the container, as shown particularly in FIGS. 5 and 6. i
The construction of the container will further be understood by reference to the partial blank, shown in FIG. 6, from which the container is formed, with this blank being suitably cardboard. With the use of cardboard, it is simple to provide color coding for the tote-boxes, since the stock for forming the containers can be chosen from a variety of colors and then a certain color used to contain a certain product. The connecting fold lines between the sidewalls M and i5 and their end flaps, with end flaps Bill and .33 being shown in FIG. 6, is formed at a slight angle with these fold lines being shown at 45 and 46. This results in the outward inclination of the end walls ii and 12 fora purpose more: fully to be described, hereinafter.
The fold lines 47 and 48 define pivot axes for the pivotal sidewalls l4 and 15, respectively, of the container. In order to have the sidewalls l4 and 15 be inherently self-locking after a certain amount of outward pivoting movement, the end flaps associated with the sidewalls are each provided with an arcuate edge having a center of curvature different from the pivotal axis of the sidewall. As shown with respect to end flap 31 in FIG. 6, the arcuate edge 50 thereof is formed with a center of curvature at 511 with a resulting radius indicated by the arrow line 52. This results in the arcuate edge of the flap moving into increasing frictional engagement with the associated connecting portion 24 or 25 of the end wall. This shown in FIG. 5 wherein the arcuate edge associated with the end flap 32 increasingly moves into tighter frictional engagement with the connecting portion 25 to render it increasingly difficult to open the sidewall and thus assist in limiting outward movement of the sidewall.
The structural framework F embodies a pair of rodlike upper and lower members 60 and 61, respectively, which encircle the walls of the container and with the members lying in the same vertical plane and with the upper member located above the arcuate edges of the end flaps 30-33 to prevent engagement therewith. As pointed out previously, the end walls of the container C incline upwardly and outwardly and, as shown in FIG. 4, the lower parts of the container fit within the encircling member 61 of the framework but the upper parts of the end walls and specifically the connecting portions 24 and 25 engage under the upper member 60 to lock the container to the framework. There is sufficient resilience in the container to permit the downward movement of the assembled container into the framework and then outward movement of the end walls to interlocking relation with the framework.
The lower member 61 has the sections thereof extending along the sidewalls 14 and 15 spaced from the pivot axes 47 and 48 of the sidewalls and at a distance from the sidewalls 'when they are closed to not interfere with a certain extent of opening movement of the sidewalls.
The sections of the lower member 61, however, are spaced sufficiently close to limit the outward movement of the sidewalls, as shown at the left in FIG. 5, which in addition to the frictional engagement of the end flaps previously referred to, assists in defining a limit position for opening of the sidewalls. This is a positive locking, since a further pull on one of the sidewalls would be resisted by the container end walls engaging under the upper frame member 60.
The framework is completed by additional frame members extending lengthwise of the container and having a pair of runners of rodlike material, identified at 70 and 71, extending beneath the container bottom wall 10 to provide additional strength therefor in support of material within the container. The runners 70 and 71 additionally provide members engaging the upper frame member 60 of a tote-box disposed therebeneath to render one tote-box stackable upon another and without any load being transmitted between the container of one tote-.box to the container of another tote-box. The runners 70 and 71 have extensions 70a and 70b and 71a and 71b at opposite ends thereof extending upwardly from opposite ends thereof and spot welded to portions of the upper and lower frame members 60 and 61 to form the framework into an integral unit. The upward extensions 70a, 70b, 71a, 7112, at an end are inclined toward each other and terminate in outwardly extending handle sections 80 and 81.
The tote-box is portable with the handles 80 and 81 and the tote-box can readily be stacked with others as shown in FIG. 3, with the entire load being transmitted through the framework. The construction of the containers permits side entry to the container, so that the stack of tote-boxes need not be 60 and at the level thereof whereb to facilitate in locking the sidewalls in closed position. Since t ese upper edges and 86 are flexible with respect to the sidewalls, they can easily be bent to permit movement under the encircling upper framework member 6i) for opening of one or both of the sidewalls.
A womout container can be replaced easily and inexpensively by merely folding and inserting a new precut cardboard blank in the framework.
l. A tote-box or the like comprising a container of flexible material and a structural framework for strengthening the container and rendering the tote-box stackable with side entry to the container wherein said container has a bottom with sidewalls and end walls with at least one sidewall being outwardly pivotable to permit access to the container, said structural framework including upper and lower members encircling said container and spaced apart a vertical distance to permit outward pivoting of said one of said container sidewalls, frame means supporting the bottom of said container, said one sidewall having a portion extending above said upper frame member to normally hold said one sidewall in a closed position, frame means engaging said end walls and locking the container in the framework, and means for limiting outward pivoting of said pivotal sidewall, including said lower frame member having a portion extending above and generally parallel to the pivotal axis of the one sidewall positioned to permit opening said one sidewall but to limit opening movement thereof to less than 90.
2. Atote-box as defined in claim 1 wherein the container end walls each have a pair of connected opposed end panels, and said sidewall has end flaps each positioned between a pair of end panels for unobstructed back and forth movement.
3. A tote-box as defined in claim 2 wherein each of said end flaps has an arcuate edge with a center of curvature different from the pivotal axis of said sidewall to have said arcuate edges increasingly frictionally engage the inner side of the connection between end panels to assist in limiting outward movement of said pivotal sidewall and with resistance being maintained by engagement of the end wall with said upper member.
4. A tote-box or the like comprising a container of flexible material and a structural framework for strengthening the container and rendering the tote-box stackable with side entry to the container wherein said container has a bottom with sidewalls and end walls with at least one sidewall being outwardly pivotable to permit access to the container, said structural framework including upper and lower members encircling said container and spaced apart a vertical distance to permit outward pivoting of said one of said container sidewalls, frame means supporting the bottom of said container, said one sidewall having a portion extending above said upper frame member to normally hold said one sidewall in a closed position, said container end walls being of a height and outwardly inclined to have the end walls within the lower member and engaged beneath the upper member to lock the container to the framework, and means for limiting outward pivoting of said pivotal sidewall, including said lower frame member having a portion extending above and generally parallel to the pivotal axis of the one sidewall positioned to permit opening said one sidewall but to limit opening movement thereof to less than 90.