US 3685687 A
A tray for serving food adapted to be stacked horizontally with a similar tray including a bottom, locking means between the trays when one tray is arranged partially overlying a portion of a similar tray including engaging means on each tray engageable with companion engaging means on the overlying trays together with means for vertically stacking the trays.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Eckdahl Aug. 22, 1972  HORIZONTALLY STACKABLE TRAY 1,542,115 6/ 1925 Weis ..220/4 R UX  lnvemon Thom Harold Eckdahl, Brooklyn 3,203,573 8/1965 Rowe ..'.220/97 D X Center, Minn- FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Assignee: Plastics, St Paul, Minn 1,292,340 3/1962 France ..220/97 D 22 F1 d: 1 16 Aug 1970 Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance  Appl. No.: 63,184 Att0meyWicks and Nemer 52 us. Cl. ..220/97 R, 211/128  ABSTRACT  Int. Cl. ..B65d 21/02 A y o e ng d adap ed to be stacked horizon-  Field ofSearch..220/97 R, 97 D, 23.6; 211/126, tally with a similar y Including a q locking 211/123 means between the trays when one tray 1S arranged partially overlying a portion of a similar tray including  References Cited engaging means on each tray engageable with com- I panion engaging means on the overlying trays together UNITED STATES PATENTS with means for venically stacking the trays. 2,684,766 7/1954 Blom ..220/97 D X 6 Claim, 9 Drawing Figures HORIZONTALLY STACKABLE TRAY SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In present day air travel prepared meals are served to passengers during flight, on trays, and the space in the aircraft for storage of the trays is critical. Present day trays are stored edge to edge for example on shelves within a storage container until used. The containers may be in the form of open end sleeves, aisle carts or other'similar devices having runners or shelves therein on which the tray is placed. In certain containers in present use three are stored end to end on each shelf. With the present invention five trays may be stored on a shelf whereas formerly only three trays were stored thus conserving considerably on space and allowing storage of more trays in a given size container.
Additionally, larger trays can be used than currently employed but with no extra space necessary. Thus a given storage container can hold more trays even though larger in size than those currently used with a given size storage container. Further, with the subject invention the trays are releasably engaged one with the other and a tray may be easily pulled from the storage container shelf by pulling on an overlying tray. This further aids in removing a tray which is innermost in the container. Also, the trays embodying the invention may be stacked in a vertical resting relationship when not in use.
In the drawings forming part of this application:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical container in which food trays are stored for use in an airplane with trays embodying the invention illustrated on a shelf thereof.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pair of trays in horizontally stacked relation.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a tray from the underside thereof.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a tray.
FIG. 7 is a rear end view of a tray.
FIG. 8 is a front end view of a tray.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a pair of trays in stacked position for storing when not in use.
Referring to the drawings in detail, the tray A includes the substantially flat bottom portion 12 which is trapezoidal in form. Formed on the rear or outermost edge of the bottom 12 is the depending flange 14 which forms a shoulder. Formed on one side edge of the bottom 12 is the first depending side flange 16. The numetal 18 designates a second depending side flange formed on the opposite side edge of the bottom. The side flanges l6 and 18 are substantially identical in formation and each is formed at the lower edge with a recess 20 and 22, respectively, substantially centrally of the length thereof the purpose of which will be hereinafter set forth.
The width of each of the side flanges 16 and 18 tapers from a maximum width at the rear or outermost end to a minimal width at the front or innermost end. With the bottom edges of the side flanges on a supporting surface, the bottom 12 inclines upwardly from the front edge to the rear edge and under which a portion of another tray may be positioned, particularly FIG. 3.
The side edges of the bottom 12 together with the side flanges l6 and 18 converge from the rear edge to the front edge thereby forming the trapezoidal formation referred to and particularly seen in FIG. 6. Extending upwardly from the juncture of the side flange 16 and the bottom 12 is the upstanding side rim portion 21, and extending upwardly from the juncture of the side flange 18 and the bottom 12 is the upstanding side rim portion 23. The side rim portions 21 and 23 join a rear transverse upstanding rim portion 24 formed on the rear edge of the tray bottom 12, the rim portion 24 substantially in alignment with the flange 14. The side rim portions 21 and 23 also join a front transverse rim portion 26.
The numeral 30 designates a notch forming shoulder means formed in the upper edge of the rim portion 21 intermediate the ends thereof, and the numeral 32 designates a notch forming shoulder means formed in the upper edge of the rim portion 23. With the outline of the tray as trapezoidal in form the front portion of a tray is received under a rear portion of another tray with the front portions of the flanges l6 and 18 together with the rim portions 21 and 23, respectively, within the flanges 16 and 18, particularly FIG. 2.
In FIG. 9 is illustrated how the trays may be horizontally stacked with a minimum of vertical dimension. To obtain the stacking of FIG. 9 the uppermost tray of FIG. 2 is rotated 360 and placed upon the lowermost tray as in FIG. 9 with the top edges of theflanges l6 and 18 received in the recesses 20 and 22 of an uppermost tray. This allows extremely compact vertical stacking and resting of the trays.
In use, a rear or outermost portion of one tray is positioned on a front or innermost portion of another tray with the shoulder 14 in engagement with the notches 30 and 32 of the underlying tray. A further tray may be positioned similarly on the first mentioned tray, see particularly FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. With the shoulder 14 of a tray in the notches 30 and 32 the trays are releasably locked together whereby pulling on one tray thereby pulls the other tray or trays in connection therewith. As indicated in the drawings, the rear portion of the tray may include depressions for holding a salad dish, a dessert dish, condiments, etc. but the front portion of the tray is stored with nothing on it and is overlapped in storing as above set forth and as seen in the drawings. The front portion of the tray is used when the trays are removed singly from the container C by placing on the front portion a hot casserole dish, for example, taken from a heated container. The trays are stacked when not in use as heretofore disclosed.
1. A tray adapted to be stacked partially horizontally and interlocked with another similar tray in the stacked position, each of said trays comprising:
a. a flat bottom,
b. said trays being arrangeable in partially overlying position with a portion of the bottom of the underlying tray exposed and c. locking means between the trays comprising:
d. upstanding engaging means on each tray formed at the side edges substantially centrally of the front and rear edges and engageable with e. companion engaging means depending from the underside of an overlying tray adjacent the outer edge thereof.
2. A tray according to claim 1 in which a. each of the side edges includes a raised upstanding rim, and the companion engaging means is b. a depending flange, and the engaging means is c. the rim on opposite sides, each rim having a notch providing upstanding shoulders engageable with d. said depending flange.
3. A tray according to claim 1 in which a. the bottom of the tray is trapezoidal in form with,
b. the outermost and innermost edges of the bottom parallel and c. the lateral edges converging toward the innermost edge, and
d. flanges projecting downwardly from the lateral edges and coplanar with the lateral portions of the rim to fit within the lateral portions of the rim of an underlying tray when the trays are disposed in partially overlying position.
4. A tray according to claim 3 in which a. the last named flanges taper from their innermost end toward their outermost ends.
5. A tray according to claim 3 in which a. the last named flanges have 5 and interlocked with a similar tray, each of said trays comprising a. a flat bottom having a trapezoidal form in outline,
b. an upstanding rim formed on each side of the bottom,
c. a flange depending from the rear edge of the bottom,
d. each of said rims having a notch formed therein substantially centrally of the length thereof and engageable with said flange of an overlying tray e. a flange projecting downwardly from the bottom in alignment with each of said rims,
f. each of said flanges having a recess at the locality of the notch in the rim to receive oppositely facing flanges when the trays are vertically stacked in fully overlying positions.