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Publication numberUS3664538 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 23, 1972
Filing dateDec 21, 1970
Priority dateDec 21, 1970
Publication numberUS 3664538 A, US 3664538A, US-A-3664538, US3664538 A, US3664538A
InventorsFioretti Donald W
Original AssigneeFioretti Donald W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nestable receptacle and container
US 3664538 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 23, v1972 D. w. FIORETTI NESTABLE RECEPTACLE AND CONTAINER Filed Dec. 21, 1970 BY M W United States Patent. Oflice Patented May 23, 1972 U.S. Cl. 220-4 E 11 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A nestable receptacle comprising a bottom member and a plurality of upstanding, flexible, first and second ear members on the periphery of the bottom member. The first ear members alternate in position on the periphery with the second ear members. Each of the first ear members has an outwardly projecting bottom edge adjacent the periphery of the bottom member, and has an outer wall inclined inwardly from the bottom member. Each of the second ear members has an inner wall inclined outwardly from the bottom member. The receptacles when engaged as described form a container having a cavity between the bottom members of the receptacles defined by the vertical dimensions of the walls of the first ear members.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to nestable receptacles and to containers formed from a pair of such receptacles by inverting one of the receptacles and superposing it on the other.

Convenience packaging of relatively inexpensive articles of commerce requires packaging materials and structures which are also inexpensive. Such economy is achieved by modes of manufacture of receptacles or containers involving inexpensive materials and simple procedures, for example, one-step stamping of a metal receptacle or container from sheet metal or one-step molding of a receptacle or container from cellular or non-cellular plastic. The latter technique is especially popular due to the development of inexpensive foamed-in-place plastics such as cellular polystyrene. With such plastics almost any shape and size of article, including receptacles and containers, can be quickly and economically produced.

Specialized, packaging materials are required, however, for foods, especially when it is desired to insulate the food to maintain it in a heated or cold condition over a predetermined period of time. For example, it is highly desirable to insulate carry out orders of food from restaurants against either heat losses, if the food is hot, 'or against softening or melting, if the food is delivered cold or frozen. Additionally, the packaging of food requires a packaging material and structure which is shock absorbent and easily closed and opened. Still another requirement is the nestability of the receptacles manufactured from the packaging material so that large quantities of receptacles may be stored in relatively small spaces and are conveniently at hand.

SUM MARY An object of the present invention therefore is to provide a new and improved receptacle and container which may be inexpensively manufactured from inexpensive materials.

Another object is to provide a new and improved container which is easily closed and is self-locking but is easily opened as well.

A further object is to provide new and improved receptacles which are nestable and which, when engaged in pairs to form containers, are shock absorbent and heat insulating.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a new and improved heat insulating container for hot foods such as pizza pies.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification which follows.

The invention accordingly comprises an article of manufacture possessing the features, properties and the relation of elements which will be exemplified in the article hereinafter described and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

In brief summary, the invention comprises a bottom member and a plurality of upstanding, flexible, first and second ear members on the periphery of the bottom member. Each of the first ear members has an outwardly projecting bottom edge adjacent the periphery and the first earmembers alternate in position on the periphery with the second ear members. Also, each of the first ear members has an outer wall inclined inwardly from the bottom member, and each of the second ear members has an inner wall inclined outwardly from the bottom member. Each of the second ear members has an inwardly projecting lug for engagement with the outwardly projecting bottom edge of a first ear member on an identical second receptacle when the receptacles are press-fitted together such that second ear members of one receptacle are superposed on first ear members of the other receptacle. Two such receptacles when press-fitted together as described form a container having a cavity between the bottom members of the receptacles defined by the vertical dimensions of the walls of the first ear members.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a receptacle of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a partly elevational and partly perspective section along line 22 of FIG. 1;

(FIG. 3 is an enlarged view partly in section of the receptacles shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view partly in section of the receptacle in engaged relationship; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view partly in section of the ear member of FIGS. 3 and 4 according to an alternate embodiment of my invention.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is provided a platter-like receptacle 11 having a bottom member 12 and a plurality of upstanding ear members or panels 14 and 15 on the periphery of bottom member 12. The ear members are flexible at least to the extent that some bending of the ear members relative to bottom member 12 is possible. The flexibility is determined by the material and dimensions of construction of the ear members as will be explained further hereinafter.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 it will be noted that ear members 14 and 15 alternate in position on the periphery of receptacle 11. Preferably, the ear members are contiguous on the periphery and are slightly tapered outwardly from their top corners to their points of connection to bottom member 12 so as to define notches 18 therebetwveen. Notches 18 permit ease of movement of the ear members relative to one another.

Each of the ear members 14, as shown in the enlarged sections of FIG. 3, is generally triangular in cross section and has a tapered upper end or edge 14a, an outwardly projecting bottom edge or surface 14b adjacent the periphery of bottom member 12, and has an inner wall 14d which joins the upper surface of bottom member 12 at point to form substantially a right angle between, wall 14d and the upper surface of bottom member 12. An additional important feature of ear members 14 is that the outer walls thereof, 14c, are inclined inwardly of the bottom members 12 for purposes which will be explained below.

Each of the ear members 15 has an inwardly projecting shelf, lip or lug 15a, which is an extension of a body member generally triangular in cross section, and optionally (as shown) has an outwardly projecting bottom edge or surface 15b (FIG. 2) identical in construction to outwardly projecting edge 14b. The projecting edge 15b may be eliminated from all ear members 15, if desired, and the resulting receptacles will still be identical in configuration. Additionally, ear member 15 has an outer wall 15d which meets bottom member 12 at approximately a 90 degree angle, and an inner Wall 156 inclined outwardly from member 12. The inner wall 152 meets the upper surface of bottom member 12 at point 150, as shown in FIG. 2.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 illustrate the relative positions of a pair of receptacles of the invention in non-engagement (FIGS. 2 and 3), and in engagement (FIG. 4) to form a container of the invention. In FIGS. 2-4, the upper receptacle is identical in construction to the lower receptacle, having a bottom member 13 and alternating ear members 16 and 17 which are identical in construction with ear members 14 and 15, respectively. Likewise, the construction of elements 16a, 16b, 16c, 16d, 16e, 17a, 17b, 17c, 17d, and 17e is identical to the corresponding elements of ear members 14 and 15. The outwardly projecting bottom edges, such as edge 14b, and lugs, such as lug 17a, serve as detents, and cooperate to lock receptacles of the invention together as will become apparent in the discussion to follow.

As clearly evident from FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, a container is formed from receptacle 11 of the invention by inverting one of the receptacles and press-fitting it onto the other of the receptacles such that ear members 16 and 17 of one receptacle are superposed onto car members 14 and 15, respectively, such that the inclined surfaces of ear members of one receptacle, such as wall 17e, slides along inclined surfaces of ear members of the other receptacle, such as wall He. Likewise, the corresponding walls of ear members 16 and 15 slide over one another, and lug 17a slides over and engages projecting edge 14b to lock thereon. Similarly, lug 15a slides over and lockingly engages projecting edge 16b. At the same time, or in any convenient sequence, the other complementary ear members of the receptacles are engaged by press-fitting, as by light pressure of the fingers on the peripheries of bottom members 12 and 13.

The inherent flexibility of the ear members 14, 15, 16 and 17 facilitates the locking engagement of the lugs 15a and 17a with the projecting edges 14b and 16b on each of the receptacles. In this manner, as illustrated in FIG. 4, identical but complementary receptacles of the invention form a press-fit together for self-locking engagement. However, it will also be evident that by simple flexing of the lug members, such as lugs 15a and 17a, the locking engagement may be easily broken, as by pulling outwards on the lugs with the fingertips, and the receptacles separated. Nevertheless, when receptacles of the invention are in locking engagement, a relatively tight fit is achieved between the inclined walls of the ear members, such as walls 14e and 17e, to form closures cooperating with the inherently heat insulating properties of the material with which the receptacles preferably are formed such that the resulting container is useful in insulating foods therein against substantial variations in food temperature over predetermined periods of time.

With reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, it will further be noted that the size of the cavity formed within a container of the invention is determined primarily by the vertical dimensions of the ear members such as car members 14 and 16. The reason for this is that when receptacles of the invention are press-fitted together in the manner described, the upper ends or edges 14a and 16a of ear members 14 and 16 abut the upper surfaces of bottom mem- 4 bers 13 and 12, respectively, thus preventing further closure of the receptacles.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown an alternate embodiment of my invention, wherein the lugs 15a and 17a are eliminated in the configuration of the ear members 15 and 17 respectively. In this embodiment the ear members 14 and 16 and 15 and 17 merely engage in interference fit manner, without any locking taking place between the top and bottom members 13 and 14.

It will be obvious that the size and shape of the cavity within the container formed by a pair of receptacles 11 of the invention will additionally be governed by the other dimensions of the bottom and ear members of the receptacles and all of these dimensions may be varied in order to accommodate articles of sizes and shapes other than circular, or substantially circular. Accordingly, although the container illustrated has specific utility for the packaging of pizza pie, it will be obvious that the receptacles and containers may be polygonal, including two, three, or four sides, without departing from the invention. Likewise, while it is preferred to manufacture the receptacles of the invention from closed cell, rigid, molded plastics such as polystyrene, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride, cellulose acetate, cellular vinyls, and the like, numerous equivalent materials, plastic and non-plastic, cellular and non-cellular, rigid or non-rigid, may be employed as obvious equivalents.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding decription, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above article without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

I claim:

1. A nestable receptacle comprising a bottom member and a plurality of upstanding, flexible, first and second car members on the periphery of said bottom member, said first ear members alternating with said second ear members, each of said first ear members having an outwardly projecting bottom edge adjacent said periphery and an outer wall inclined inwardly from said bottom member, each of said second ear members having an inner wall inclined outwardly from said bottom member and an inwardly projecting lug for engagement with the outwardly projecting bottom edge of a first ear member on an identical second receptacle when said receptacles are press-fitted together such that second ear members of one receptacle are superposed on first ear members of the other receptacle.

2. A receptacle as in claim 1 wherein said ear members are contiguous on said periphery.

3. A receptacle as in claim 1 wherein the angles of inclination of the outer walls of said first ear members and the inner walls of said second car members are complementary.

4. A receptacle as in claim 1 formed of heat insulating plastic.

5. A receptacle as in claim 1 wherein the walls of said first ear members are vertically dimensioned to define a cavity between bottom members of a pair of said receptacles when said receptacles are press-fitted together such that second ear members of one receptacle are superposed on first ear members of the other receptacle.

6. A container comprising a pair of identical nestable receptacles complementarily engaged, each said receptacle comprising a bottom member and a plurality of upstanding, flexible, first and second ear members on the periphcry of said bottom member, said first ear members alternating with said second ear members, each of said first ear members having an outwardly projecting bottom edge adjacent said periphery and having an outer wall inclined inwardly from said bottom member, each of said second ear members having an inner Wall inclined outwardly from said bottom member and an inwardly projecting lug engaged with an outwardly projecting bottom edge of a first ear member on the second of said receptacles when said receptacles are press-fitted together such that second ear members of one receptacle are superposed on first ear members of the second receptacle.

7. A container as in claim 6 wherein said ears are contiguous on the peripheries of said bottom members.

8. A container as in claim 6 wherein the angles of inclination of the outer Walls of said first ear members and the inner walls of said second ear members are complementary.

9. A container as in claim 6 wherein each receptacle is formed of heat insulating plastic.

10. A container as in claim 6 wherein the walls of said first ear members are vertically dimensioned to define a cavity between the bottom members of said receptacles.

11. A nestable receptacle, comprising a bottom member and a plurality of upstanding, flexible first and second car members on the periphery of said bottom member, said first ear members alternating with said second ear members, each of said first ear members having an outer wall inclined inwardly from said bottom member, each of said second ear members having an inner wall inclined outwardly from said bottom member, which inwardly and outwardly projecting outer walls interfit with outwardly and inwardly projecting walls on an identical second receptacle when said receptacles are press fitted together.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,464,017 3/1949 Berghorn 22060 R X 3,010,552 11/1961 Davidson 220-4 E X 3,208,620 9/ 1965 Hcrdering 2204 R FOREIGN PATENTS 1,457,720 9/1966 France 220-4 R M. HENSON WOOD, 1a., Primary Examiner E. D. GRANT, Assistant Examiner

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3934645 *Feb 1, 1974Jan 27, 1976Yuba Heat Transfer CorporationFinned tube protector
US4030597 *Aug 23, 1976Jun 21, 1977Mccarthy Peter ACoin container
US4060173 *Nov 15, 1976Nov 29, 1977Crystal Thermoplastics, Inc.Container
US4360118 *Nov 17, 1980Nov 23, 1982Stern James JSelf-mating pizza pie container
US5211717 *Jun 11, 1991May 18, 1993Sgs-Thomson Microelectronics, S.A.Sawtooth container for semiconductor wafers
US6886704Oct 22, 2002May 3, 2005Pactiv CorporationContainers and container assemblies with releasable locking feature
US6923338May 20, 2002Aug 2, 2005Fort James CorporationFood container with interchangeable lidóbase seal design
US7032773Jan 13, 2004Apr 25, 2006Fort James CorporationFood container with interchangeable lidóbase seal provided with undercut sealing profile and asymmetric interlockable stacking ridges
US8083084Sep 6, 2007Dec 27, 2011Pwp Industries, Inc.Invertible tray
US8343560Sep 28, 2006Jan 1, 2013Reynolds Consumer Products Inc.Modular container assembly and merchandizing container display
WO1995027544A1 *Apr 5, 1995Oct 19, 1995Charles Peter TownsendContainer
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/4.24
International ClassificationB65D8/14, B65D1/40, A61J1/00, B65D8/04, A61J1/03
Cooperative ClassificationB65D11/188, B65D11/02
European ClassificationB65D11/18H4, B65D11/02