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Publication numberUS3707806 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 2, 1973
Filing dateJan 9, 1970
Priority dateJan 9, 1970
Publication numberUS 3707806 A, US 3707806A, US-A-3707806, US3707806 A, US3707806A
InventorsV Toews, H Wigle
Original AssigneeBryan W, V Toews
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container and handle arrangement
US 3707806 A
Abstract
A container set formed from a thermoplastic material including at least two containers which are joined together by an integral flexible strip or web. The containers have side walls which diverge in a direction toward the upper open end of the container. A handle extends upwardly from a location between the containers to facilitate lifting the container set. A wedge adjacent the lower end of the handle engages the facing side walls of opposed containers to prevent the containers from tipping toward each other when the container set is lifted by the handle. Several of the disclosed handles can be connected to the container by a stab-in movement from above the container without lifting or otherwise disturbing the container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Toews et al.

[54] CONTAINER AND HANDLE ARRANGEMENT [75] Inventors: Vern J. Toews, Ruthven, Ontario;

. Harold E. Wigle, Leamington, On-

tario, both of Canada [73] Assignees: William P. Bryan, Jr., Tifton, 0a.;

Vern J. Toews, Ruthven, Ontario, Canada [22] Filed: Jan. 9, 1970 [2|] Appl. No: 1,806

[52] US. Cl. ..47/34.l3, 220/94 B, 220/104,

Vaughn ..229/52 [451 Jan. 2, 1973 2,688,43l 9/1954 Loeb et al ..47/34.ll X 2,708,063 5/l955 Yale 3,078,020 2/l963 Boonstra 3,353,729 11/1967 Hull ..224/45 Primary Examiner-Robert E. Bagwill -Attamey-Markva, Smith & Kruger [5 7] ABSTRACT A container set formed from a thermoplastic material including at least two containers which are joined together by an integral flexible strip or web. The con tainers have side walls which diverge in a direction toward the upper open end of the container. A handle extends upwardly from a location between the containers to facilitate lifting the container set. A wedge adjacent the lower end of the handle engages the facing side walls of opposed containers to prevent the containers from tipping toward each other when the container set is lifted by the handle. Several of the disclosed handles can be connected to the container by a stab-in movement from above the container without lifting or otherwise disturbing the container.

11 Claims, 27 Drawing Figures nave/enema i PATENTEDJANZ am saw 5 or 6 5 s Ll m, A N k k A TTORXE 3S CONTAINER AND HANDLE ARRANGEMENT This invention relates generally to a multiple compartment container having a carrying handle, and particularly to a container set including multiple containers for handling and marketing nursery plants.

,Multiple compartment nursery plant containers are well known. Such prior known containers include a multiplicity of integrally joined containers formed from a thin sheet of plastic material, such as polystyrene.

Among the difficulties encountered with the prior art market packs, as they are commonly termed, is that they are frequently difficult for the purchaser to carry. In addition, the containers are frequently spattered with earth or mud as a result of watering and sprinkling, and the customers bands or clothes become soiled unless the retailer provides a special wrap or package. Since most plant marketing operations are now conducted on a serve-yourself basis, the problem of soiled bands and clothes would not be eliminated even if the retailer could individually package each market pack or container, because the packaging could not be accomplished until after the customer had made his selections. In any event, because of the economics of nursery or other plant sale operations, it is virtually impossible for the retailer to individually package each market yack or container. As a result, impulse or onthe-spot purchases are not made by the customer because he is not dressed to handle the plants and does not with to soil has bands.

In addition, prior known plant containers are so constructed that there is no place for the conspicuous display of advertising to indicate to the purchaser that the plants are produced by a reputable grower. Therefore, the discriminating customer finds it necessary to inquire about where and by whom the plants are grown. Hence, the retailer must answer numerous questions about the plants, much time is lost, and unless sufficient help is available to assist all the customers, sales are lost because the retailer is too busy to serve the customers.

Among the desirable features of a plant container are the following:

i. The container must be formed from a lightweight material with an attractive appearance.

2. Container sets must include containers with tapered side walls so the container sets are nestable for shipping.

3. Where the container is to be provided with a handle, the handle must be connectable to the container after the plants are placed in the container.

4. The handle must be so constructed that it can be shipped in a collapsed or flattened condition with the containers.

5. Both the container and the handle must be sufficiently strong anddurable that plants and moist earth in the containers can be lifted without failure of either the container or the handle.

6. The containers must be so constructed that they do not tip when lifted by the handle.

7. The handle and container must be very inexpensive to compete with similar containers, must be adapted for use with existing nursery equipment, and must require a minimum of manual manipulation to connect the handle to the container.

In accordance with this invention, there is provided a multiple compartment plant container with a unique carrying handle which overcomes and alleviates the problems of prior art plant containers and satisfies the criteria listed above. The carrying handle is connected to the compartmented container and extends upwardly therefrom to be readily grasped to lift and carry the plant container. In one embodiment of the container set of this invention, the carrying handle is connected to the plant container at a location between two horizontally aligned and interconnected containers for the plants.

The container set of this invention is advantageously thermally formed from a relatively thin sheet of thermo formable plastic material. In the preferred embodiment the container set includes atleast two upright containers with tapered side walls, the containers being horizontally connected to each other by a thin and somewhat flexible integral web or flange. This web is not sufficiently rigid to prevent the containers from tipping toward each other when the container set is lifted from a location along the web. If the containers tip, when lifted, tall plants in the containers may become unbalanced and fall out, or alternatively the root structure of the plants may shift with corresponding damage to the plants.

In accordance with this invention, the problem of tipping of the flexible wall containers of a set toward each other is completely eliminated. In this container arrangement the handle extends between the facing side walls of adjacent containers of the set and prevents the containers from tipping toward each other so they occupy essentially the same upright position when the containers are lifted via the handle, as when the containers rest on a flat surface.

correspondingly, an object of this invention is a container set comprised of a plurality of containers interconnected at a flexible connection, having a carrying handle, and in which the containers are maintained upright regardless of the weight in the containers.

Another object is a nursery plant container set including a plurality of containers interconnected by a flexible member and in which a carrying handle for the containers extends between the containers to restrain them from tipping toward each other when the containers are lifted via the handle.

Another object is a plant container arrangement in which the handle for the containers extends upwardly from a location generally centrally of the containers and includes a wedge engaging the side walls of adjacent containers to maintain the containers upright when lifted by the handle.

Another object is a multiple compartment plant container in which the handle is particularly adapted to be inserted between and simultaneously secured to the containers against upward separation, and in which the handle also functions to prevent tipping or pivoting of the containers toward each other.

A further object is a plant container arrangement including a container set and a handle, and in which the handle is so constructed that it can be inserted through an opening between joined containers and can then be expanded to secure same, without lifting or otherwise disturbing the containers.

A further object is a plant container arrangement in which the handle takes the form of a double layer of flexible material so arranged that the web can be extended through a slot between the containers and expanded to grip same without lifting or otherwise disturbing the containers.

A further object is a container set of the type described in which tabs on the handle are arranged to be expanded by the simple expedient of pushing the handle through a slot between the containers and then expanding the handle by simple manipulation.

A still further object is a container set of the type described in which the container set is capable of nesting with other like container sets, the handle is foldable for shipping in a flattened condition, the handle and container sets are weather resistant, and the container set and handle is relatively inexpensive, yet attractive, and durable, and facilitates handling the container set without soiling the customers hands or clothes.

Numerous other objects, advantages, and features of the container and handle arrangement of this invention will become apparent with reference to the drawings which form a part of this specification, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of the container-handle arrangement of this invention showing a container set including two relatively large containers and a handle extending between the containers;

FIG. 2 is a pictorial view of a container-handle arrangement, according to this invention, and showing the container set comprised of multiple containers with the handle between rows of the containers;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of one embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the container arrangement of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a view in section taken along line 55 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a plan view showing one embodiment of the container handle of this invention in unfolded form;

FIG. 7 is a view corresponding to FIG. 5 and showing a second embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of this invention;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the blank from which the handle of FIG. 7 is formed;

FIGS. 9 and 10 are diagramatic views showing the steps of connecting the handle of FIG. 8 to a container set, to form the container-handle arrangement of FIG.

FIG. 11 is a view corresponding to FIG. 2 and showing another embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of the invention;

FIG. 12 is a plan view of the blank from which the handle of FIG. 11 is fonned;

FIG. 13 is a plan view of the handle of FIG. 12, shown folded and ready for connection to the container set;

FIGS. 14-16 are diagramatic views showing the steps of connecting the handle of FIGS. 12 and 13 to a container set to form the container-handle arrangement of FIG. 11;

FIG. 17 is a view corresponding to FIG. 2 and showing another embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of this invention;

FIG. 18 is a plan view of the blank from which the handle of FIG. 17 is formed;

F IGS. 19-21 are diagramatic views showing the steps for connecting the handle of FIG. 18 to a container set to form the container-handle arrangement of FIG. 17;

FIG. 22 is a front elevational view of another embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of the invention;

FIG. 23 is a view in section taken along line 23-23 of FIG. 22;

FIG. 24 is a plan view of the blank from which the handle of FIGS. 22 and 23 is formed; and

FIGS. 25-27 are diagramatic views showing the steps of connecting the handle of FIG. 24 to a container set to form the container-handle arrangement of FIGS. 22 and 23.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a container-handle arrangement 1 including a container set 2 and a handle 3 extending upwardly from the container set. Container set 2 includes a first container 4 and a second container 5. Containers 4 and 5 are integrally connected to each other by a flexible web 6 which tends to maintain the containers in spaced apart relation to each other and in horizontal alignment. Web 6 has an elongated opening or slit 7 formed therein to receive the handle 3. Handle 3 is advantageously elongated to facilitate carrying container set 2 even when relatively tall plants, such as plant 8, are placed in the respective containers. Because of the weight of the plants in containers 4 and 5 and because of the additional weight of the moist growing medium 9 in which the plants are rooted, it will be appreciated that both the container set 2 and handle 3 must have substantial strength to prevent failure when the containers are lifted by the handle.

The container-handle arrangement of FIG. 2 is quite similar to that of FIG. 1. In FIG. 2, the container-handle arrangement 10 includes a container set 11 and a handle 12. In this arrangement, however, a first row 13 of containers is integrally joined to a second row 14 of containers by a flexible web 15 which tends to maintain the containers in horizontal alignment with each other. Web 15 has an elongated opening or slit 16 formed therein, and handle 12 extends upwardly through the slit 16 from a location between the rows of containers 13 and 14.

In the preferred embodiment, which will subsequently be described in detail, the container sets 2 and l l are formed from a thermoformable plastic sheet material, such as OBIS-0.030 polystyrene sheet which is vacuum formed to provide the integral container set. The handles 3 and 12 of the container sets are a advantageously formed from a web, such as paper board, but can also be formed from thin sheet plastic, such as polystyrene.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, one embodiment of the container-handle arrangement will now be described in detail. As shown, the container-handle arrangement 20 includes a container set 21 and a handle 22. The container set includes relatively deep drawn containers 23 and 24 joined by an integral horizontal web 25 (FIG. 4) at the upper ends of the containers. Containers 23 and 24 are identical, container 23 having a generally flat horizontal bottom wall 26 integral with upwardly diverging opposed side walls 27 and 28, and upwardly diverging opposed end walls 29 and 30. Similarly, container 24 has a flat horizontal bottom wall 31, upwardly diverging side walls 32 and 33 integral with the bottom wall, and upwardly diverging end walls 34 and 35 integral with the bottom wall and side walls. The respective side walls, end walls, and bottom wall of each container are connected to each other along long radius corners, such as the corners 36.

Integral with the container set is a top peripheral flange 37 which extends outwardly beyond the containers. This peripheral flange results from the manner in which the containers are formed, in that a plurality of container sets like container sets 21 are simultaneously vacuum formed, and then, cuts are formed along the flange 37 except at the corners of the flange so the container sets are held together to facilitate handling, but can be easily separated into individual sets when desired.

As shown at FIG. 4, the flange which extends between and joins containers 23 and 24 is elongated. Web 25 is separated from flange 37 at its ends by shallow downwardly formed reinforcing ribs 38 and 39, which merge with the end walls 29, 30, 34 and at the inner corners of the containers. Formed in web 25 is a narrow elongated opening or slit 40 with rounded ends 41 and 42. Opening 40 is formed in the web at a location midway between containers 23 and 24, and is centered relative to the geometric center of the container set, so handle 22, which extends through opening 40 is correspondingly centrally located and between the containers. Ends 41 and 42 of opening 40 are rounded to reduce the tendency for the plastic material from which the container set is formed to split at these ends. The ribs 38 and 39 perform the dual function of tending to stiffen web 25, and preventing a crack or split formed at either end of the opening 40 from traveling or extending beyond these ribs and through the flange 37. As will be observed with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, the lower portion of the handle extends between the containers and the upper portion of the handle projects a substantial distance above the open tops of the containers.

FIG. 6 shows a paper board blank 45 from which handle 22 is folded. As shown, blank 45 includes a first generally rectangular body panel 46 and a second generally rectangular body panel 47 joined to panel 46 along a scored fold line or hinge line 48. At the free end of panel 46 is a connecting flap 49 of the same width as panel 46 and separated therefrom along a scored hinge line 50.

At the free end of panel 47 is a second connecting flap 51 which is separated from the panel by a scored hinge line 52. The flap 51 has a tongue 53 of a width slightly narrower than the length of flap 51 and end edges 54 and 55 of the flap extend perpendicularly from the side edges of the tongue.

Flap 49 has a cut to provide an elongated slit 56. Slit 56 is formed approximately midway between hinge line and the outer end edge 57 of flap 49. The length of the slit is only slightly greater than tee width of tongue 52 so the tongue is readily insertable through the slit to a position in which edges 54 and of flap 51 abut an edgeof the flap 49 at the slit to prevent further insertion of the tongue.

Formed integral with panel 46 and projecting outwardly from the panel at a location inwardly of hinge line 50 are ears 59 and 60. These ears present abutment edges 61 and 62 respectively, spaced from and parallel with hinge line 50 and facing in a direction away from connecting flap 49. Similarly, ears 63 and 64 extend outwardly from body panel 47 at a location inwardly of hinge line 52. Bars 63 and 64 present abutment edges 65 and 66 respectively, which are parallel with and spaced from hinge line 52, and which face in a direction away from connecting flap 51.

Formed in panel 46 at a location closely adjacent hinge line 48 is a hand grip opening 67, and formed in panel 47 at a location closely adjacent hinge line 48 is a hand grip opening 68. Openings 67 and 68 are each spaced the same distance from hinge line 48. Hinge lines 50 and 52 are each spaced the same distance from hinge line 48. Ears 59, 60, 63 and 64 are identical to each other, and hence, when the handle is folded along fold line 48, hand grip openings 67 and 68 are registered with each other as shown at FIG. 5, and abutment edges 61, 62, 65 and 66 of the several ears are coplaner.

Before handle 22 is connected to container set 21, it must be folded to an erected position. This is accomplished by first folding the handle along the fold line 48 so panels 46 and 47 face each other. Next, flap 51 is folded toward panel 46 along hinge line 52. Then, flap 49 is folded toward panel 47 along hinge line 50. Next, tab 53 is inserted through slit 56 in such a manner that the body 51 of the flap is exposed at the bottom of the handle and the tongue 53 extends upwardly and inwardly through slit 56, as shown at FIG. 5. Advantageously, tongue 53 and flap 49 are so dimensioned that the end 69 of the tongue engages the inside surface of panel 46 and the end 57 of flap 49 engages the inside surface of flap 47, as shown at FIG. 5. To connect the handle to the container it is merely necessary to insert the handle 22 upwardly through opening 40 to a position in which the abutment edges of the ears engage the bottom surface 70 of connecting web 25, as shown at FIG. 5 for edges 61 and 62 of ears 59 and 60.

It will be observed with reference to FIG. 5 that flaps 49 and 51 cooperate with the lower ends of panels 46 and 47 to provide a lower handle portion 71 of wedgeshaped configuration, with the panels in engagement with the respective side walls 28 and 32 of the containers 23 and 24. Such engagement of outer surface 72 of panel 46 along a substantial length of the outer surface of side wall 32, and such engagement of outer surface 73 of panel 47 along a substantial portion of the outside surface of side wall 32, coupled with the bracing of flaps 49 and 51 provides a substantial wedging effect which prevents containers 23 and 24 from tipping toward each other when the container set is lifted by the handle, regardless of the weight of the plants and growing medium in the containers. As a result of this wedging, there is no tipping of the containers 23 and 24 toward each other and hence, there is no danger of plants falling out of the containers or shifting, which could damage the root structure of the plants, as would be the case if the containers were not wedged against tipping movement toward each other. Hence, although dle, it is to be understood that the handle 22 can readily be used with the container set 11 of FIG. 2 by substituting the handle 22 for the handle 12. When so used, the handle 22 is extended through the slit 16 in connecting web and extends between the rows 13 and 14 of the containers. It will be appreciated that the handle 22 will be made sufficiently wide to engage the facing side walls of each of the respective containers of the rows 13 and 14.

With reference to FIGS. 7-10, a second embodiment 80 of the container-handle arrangement will now be described. As shown at FIG. 7, the container-handle arrangement 80 includes a container set 81 quite similar to the container set 21 described in the embodiment of FIGS. 3-6, and like numerals will be used to identify identical parts of the container set. As can be seen from FIG. 7, the container set includes the horizontally spaced apart containers 23 and 24 joined by the flexible connecting web 25. Container 23 has an inner side wall 28 and container 24 has an inner side wall 32. However, the opening 82, through web 25, through which handle 83 extends is somewhat narrower than the opening 40 described with reference to the embodiment of FIGS. 3-6. As a result of the narrower opening, the lower surface of web 25 presents downwardly facing abutment surfaces 85 and 86 respectively at the juncture of the web with the side walls 28 and 32 of the containers. Otherwise, the container set 81, shown at FIG 7, is identical to the container 21 of FIGS. 3- 6.

As shown at FIG. 8, the blank 87 from which handle 83 is formed is rectangular. Blank 87 is advantageously formed from stiff paper board, but may be formed from thin plastic material, if described. Blank 87 includes an elongated first body panel 88 joined to a relatively narrow connecting panel 89 along a hinge line 90. Connected to connecting panel 89 along a hinge line 92 is a second body panel 93 of the same length and width as the first body panel 88. A three-sided cut 94 is formed in body panel 88 to define a rectangular support flap 95 joined to the connecting panel 89 along hinge line 91. Similarly, a rectangular support flap 96 is formed by cut 97 and the support flap thus formed is hingedly joined to the connecting panel along the hinge line 92.

A hand grip opening 100 is completely cut out of panel 93, and the side of the opening closest to the end edge 101 of the panel is provided with an elongated yet shallow notch 102. A hand grip opening 103 is formed in the panel 89 by a three-sided cut 104, so a generally rectangular handle flap 105 is formed which is hingedly connected to the body panel along the hinge line 106. This handle flap has a width the same as that of the notch 102 and is adapted to be inserted through the hand grip opening 100 and into the notch 102 to connect the body panels together.

The construction of handle 83 is such that it can be connected to container set 81 from above without lifting or even touching the container set. This is accomplished as shown at FIGS. 9 and 10, by first folding panel 93 along hinge line 92 so it lies flat against panel 88, as shown at FIG. 9. During the step of folding along the hinge line 92, support flap 96 is pushed outwardly and support flap 95 is likewise pushed outwardly so these flaps occupy the positions shown in FIG. 9, wherein they extend outwardly of the respective body panels and present upwardly facing abutment edges 107 and 108, respectively.

With handle 83 folded as shown at FIG. 9, the handle is connected to container set 81 by pushing the handle downwardly through slot 82. When abutment edge 107 of support flap is below opening 82, body panel 88 is pushed downwardly while body panel 93 is held stationary. This causes body panel 88 to pivot about hinge line 90, thereby causing connecting panel 89 to pivot to the horizontal position shown at FIG. 10. When the end edge 109 of body panel 88 is aligned with the end edge 101 of body panel 93, the opening is aligned with handle flap and the handle flap is pushed through opening 100 and is folded upwardly as shown at FIG. 7, whereupon the handle flap locks in notch 102 to connect the panels against further relative movement. With further reference to FIG. 7, it will be observed that the abutment edges 107 and 108 of support flaps 95 and 96 engage under the respective abutment surfaces 85 and 86 of web 25 to prevent separation of the handle from the container set when the container is lifted by the handle. With the lower end 110 of the handle so expanded, connecting panel 89 functions as a brace and maintains the lower ends of panels 88 and 93 in engagement with the outside surfaces of side walls 28 and 32. Hence, the lower portion 110 of handle 83 functions as a wedge, and the wedging action prevents tipping of containers 23 and 24 toward each other when the container is lifted by the handle.

FIG. 11 shows an additional embodiment of the container-handle arrangement according to this invention. As shown, container-handle arrangement includes a container set 81 identical to the container set of FIG. 7 and including containers 23 and 24 joined by a web 25 having an opening 82 therein. A handle 116, connected to container set 81 extends upwardly from a location between the containers and prevents the containers 23 and 24 from tipping toward each other when the container set is lifted by the handle.

FIG. 12 shows a blank 117 from which the handle 116 is folded. Blank 117 is of rectangular outline and includes a first body panel 118 connected to a connecting panel 119 along a hinge line 120. A second body panel 121 is connected to the opposite side of connecting panel 119 along a hinge line 122. Support tabs 123 and 124 are cut respectively from body panels 118 and 121 by the three-sided cuts 125 and 126. A significant difference between the blank 117 of FIG. 12 and the blank of FIG. 8 is that in the blank of FIG. 12 the hinge lines and 122 terminate at the side edges of the respective support tabs and 126. Hence, when handle 116 is folded by folding body portion 121 against body portion 118, along fold line 122, support tab 126 projects downwardly from the handle. Such folding along score line 122 is,of course, the first step prior to connecting handle 116 to container set 81.

Handle blank 117 is also provided with a hand grip opening 100 having a notch 102, and a handle flap 105 hingedly connected to body panel 118 along a hinge line 106. The arrangement of hand grip opening 100 and handle flap 105 is identical to that described for the handle blank 87 of FIG. 8.

After handle blank 117 is folded to the condition of FIG. 13, the handle 116 is aligned with opening 82 and is inserted downwardly through the opening to the position of FIG. 15, wherein both support tabs 125 and 126 are below the bottom walls 26 and 31 of the respective containers. Next, body panel 118 is moved downwardly relative to body panel 121 to pivot connecting panel 119 relative to both body panels along the hinge lines 120 and 122. This causes connecting panel 119 to assume a generally horizontal position with the supporting tabs 125 and 126 extending horizontally from the connecting panel. Lifting upwardly on the handle then brings tab 126 into engagement with the bottom surface of bottom wall 26 and simultaneously brings tab 125 into engagement with .the bottom surface of bottom wall 31. Since the width of connecting panel 119, as measured between hinge lines 120 and 122, is essentially the same as the distance between containers 23 and 24 at the junction of the inner side walls and the bottom walls, the lower end of panel 118 engages the outside surface of side wall 32 adjacent the lower end of the side wall, and the body panel 121 engages the outside surface of side wall 28 adjacent the lower end of this side wall. With this arrangement, tabs 125 and 126 engage under the bottom walls of the respective containers to both prevent separation of handle 116 from the container set as a result of a force applied in an upward direction, and in addition, body panels 118 and 121 cooperate with connecting panel 119 to provide a wedge that functions to prevent tipping of containers 23 and 24 toward each other when the container set is lifted. Because the material of handle 1 16 is relatively thin, the tabs 125 and 126 do not disturb the equilibrium of the container-handle arrangement when the container is rested on a flat surface.

After connecting panel 119 is pivoted to the position of FIG. 11, handle flap 105 is pushed through hand grip opening 100 to the position shown at FIG. 11 where handle flap 105 is locked in notch 102.

FIG. 17 shows another embodiment of the containerhandle arrangement of this invention. The containerhandle arrangement 130 includes a handle 131 and a container set 81 identical to the container set of FIGS. 7 and 11. Handle 131 extends upwardly from container set 81 and has a lower wedging end 132 which extends between containers 23 and 24.

The blank 133 from which handle 131 is formed is shown at FIG. 18. Blank 133 is rectangular and includes a rectangular body panel 134 connected to a connecting panel 135 along a hinge line 136. Connecting panel 135 is connected to a second body panel 137 along a hinge line 138. Body panels 134 and 137 have the same length and width. Body panel 134is provided with a handle flap 105 hinged to the body panel along a hinge line 106 as previously described for the handle blank of FIG. 12. Similarly, body panel 137 has a hand grip opening 100 with a notch 102 identical to the hand grip of FIG. 12.

Handle 131 is connected to container set 81 in the manner sown inFIGS. 19-21. First, body panel 137 is folded along hinge line 138 into engagement with body panel 134, as shown at FIG. 19. Next, handle 131 is inserted downwardly through opening 82 of connecting web 25 (FIG. so the connecting panel 135 and fold line l36'are a substantial distance below opening 82. Next, panel l34is moved downwardly relative to panel 137 to cause connecting panel 135 to pivot about the hinge lines 136 and 138 so the lower end of the handle assumes the wedge shape 132 shown at FIGS. 17 and 21. Body panels 134 and 137 are then connected against relative movement by pushing the handle flap through opening 100 and locking same in notch 102.

With the lower end 132 of the handle so expanded, upward movement of the handle relative to the container causes the portion 132 to wedge between side walls 28 and 32 of the respective containers. This wedging prevents any tipping of containers 23 and 24 toward each other about the flexible web 25 when the container set is lifted by the handle. It will be observed with reference to FIG. 17 that the outside surface of body panel 134 engages the outside surface of side wall 32 and that the outside surface of body panel 137 engages the outside surface of side wall 28 to prevent the containers from tipping toward each other when container set 81 is lifted by the handle.

FIGS. 22-27 show another embodiment of the container-handle arrangement of this invention. Container-handle arrangement includes a handle 151 and a container set 81 identical to that of several previously described embodiments. The handle 151 is adapted to be inserted through slot 82 of container set 81 from above the container set. Then, the handle can be readily locked to the container set in a manner which will soon be described in detail.

FIG. 24 shows the blank 152 from which handle 151 is folded. As shown, the blank 152 is generally rectangular and elongated and includes a body panel 153 hav' ing a width greater than the length of the slot 82 of container set 81. The inner end 154 of body panel 153 is generally rectangular and narrower than the width of the body panel to provide aligned abutment edges 155 and 156 which face toward inner end 154. Inner end 154 of the body panel is connected to a connecting panel 157 along a fold or hinge line 157.

A second body panel 158, having an inner end 159, is connected to connecting panel 157 along a hinge or score line 160. The outline configuration of body panel 158 with inner end 159 is identical to the outline configuration of body panel 153 with inner end 154. As will be observed with reference to FIG. 24, the width of inner end 154, connecting panel 157, and inner end 159 is the same, and this width is slightly less than the length of slot 82 so that the connecting panel and the inner end portions can be inserted through the slot 82 of container set 81 after the handle is folded. Abutment edges 161 and 162 at opposite sides of inner end portion 159 are aligned with each other, face generally toward this inner end portion and are the same distance from fold line as the abutment edges 155 and 156 are from the fold line 157.

Formed in inner end 159 of body panel 158 is a holding tab 163 which is joined to inner end 159 along a hinge line 164 parallel with hinge line 160. Holding tab 163 has an end edge 165 which faces away from connecting panel 157 and which lies slightly inwardly of edges 161 and 162, with the blank 152 in its flat condition as shown at FIG. 24.

A wedging tab 166 is formed in inner end 154 of body panel 153. Wedging tab 166 differs from holding tab 163 in that tab 166 has no fold line joining it to inner end 154. In addition, end edge 167 faces toward connecting panel 157 rather than away from the connecting panel, as is the case with end edge 165 of holding tab 163. Wedge tab 166 is slightly wider than holding tab 163 and hence, holding tab 163 can pass through the opening 168 formed when wedge tab 166 is pushed out of the plane of body panel 153.

A hand grip opening 100, with a locking notch 102, is formed in panel 158. A handle flap 105 is formed in body panel 153 and is hingedly connected to the body panel along a hinge line 106. Hinge line 106 is essentially the same distance from end edge 169 of body panel 153 as edge 170 of notch 102 is from end edge 171 of body panel 158. The hand grip opening and handle flap are identical to those previously described.

Handle 151 is erected by folding body panel 153 toward body panel 158 along hinge line 160. During folding, tab 163 is pushed toward panel 153 and tab 166 is pushed toward panel 158 so the ends of the tabs overlap, as shown at FIG. 25. The handle is then aligned vertically with slot 82 as shown at FIG. 25, and is pushed downwardly through the slot until abutment edges 161 and 162 engage the top surface of web 25 at each end of slot 82. With the handle in this position it will be observed that the top edge 169 of body panel 153 is vertically higher than top edge 171 of body panel 158. A continued downward push on top edge 169 forces body panel 153 further downwardly and at the same time causes connecting panel 157 to pivot about hinge lines 160 and 157' simultaneously. The various panels are so dimensioned and arranged that connecting panel 157 moves to the horizontal position in FIGS. 23 and 27 when abutment edges 155 and 156 engage the top surface of web 25 at the respective ends of slot 82. As body panel 153 is moved downwardly, wedge tab 166 forces holding tab 163 transversely of the handle and against the outside surface of side wall 32 of the container set so end edge 165 of the tab engages the under-surface of web 25 at a location to one side of slot 82. The handle 15] is then locked in position by extending handle flap 105 through opening 100, as shown at FIGS. 23 and 27.

In the embodiment of the container and handle shown and described with reference to FIGS. 22-27, the weight of container set 81 is carried primarily by tab 163. In addition, inner ends 154 and 159 of the body panel cooperate with connecting panel 157 to form a wedge 172 which prevents the containers from tipping toward each other when the container is lifted.

It is to be appreciated that the dimensions of the wedge portion of the handle can be varied so the connecting panel of the wedge engages the facing side walls of the containers of the container set at virtually any location below the top of the containers. However, it will be seen with reference to the embodiments of FIGS. 5, 7, 17 and 23 that the connecting panel is advantageously located approximately two-thirds of the height of the containers below web 25.

While the embodiments of handle shown at FIGS. 5, 7, 11, 17, and 23 have been described in the environment ofa container set having only two containers, like the container set of FIG. 1, it is to be appreciated that the handles of these several embodiments can be used with the container set 11 of FIG. 2, wherein the lower wedging portion of the handle extends between the rows 13 and 14 of containers and engages the facing side walls of the containers to prevent opposed pairs of 6 the containers from tipping toward each other when lifted by the handle.

It is to be noted with particularity with reference to the embodiment of FIG. 17, that the wedge portion 132 at the lower end of the handle is the sole means for both preventing tipping of the containers toward each other and for connecting the handle to the container against separation when the container is lifted by the handle.

In the several embodiments disclosed, it is to be appreciated that slight tipping of the containers toward each other may occur before the wedge at the lower end of the handle is engaged by the containers. Thereafter, further tipping is resisted. Such slight tipping could well result from permissible manufacturing tolerances, or from contraction or expansion of the various portions of the paper board handle as a result of changes in moisture content. Hence, it is not intended nor expected that the handle will prevent all tipping of the containers, but that any tipping which does occur will be slight and insufficient to either damage the plants by root shift or by falling out of the containers.

While several preferred embodiments of the container-handle arrangement of this invention have been shown and described in detail, it is to be understood that numerous changes and modifications can be made without departing from the intended scope of this invention as described herein and as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A container arrangement particularly adapted for the handling and marketing of nursery plants comprising, in combination a container set including a first generally rectangular, upright, thin walled container with a bottom wall and side walls diverging in a direction toward an open top of the container,

a second generally rectangular, upright, thin walled container spaced laterally of said first container and having a bottom wall and side walls diverging toward an open top of the second container,

a web integral with said containers, said web joining said containers above the lower ends thereof and tending to maintain the containers in horizontally aligned relation to each other;

said web having an opening therethrough located generally between said first and second containers;

handle means extending through said opening to facilitate lifting said container set, said handle means being formed from flexible sheet material and comprising means integral with said handle means and engaging walls of said first and second containers at a location below said opening of the web to prevent tipping movement of said containers toward each other when lifted by the handle,

and

tab means engaging said container set at a location below said opening to prevent upward separation of the handle means from the container set.

2. A container arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said opening in said web is elongated;

said handle means has a width to be received through said opening; and

said tab means extend longitudinally of said opening and beyond the ends thereof.

3. A container arrangement according to claim 1- wherein said opening in said web is elongated;

said handle means hasa width to be received through said opening; and

said tab means project from said handle means in a direction transverse to the long dimension of the opening.

4. A container arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said handle means includes a first generally rectangular panel,

. a second generally rectangular panel joined to and extending generally along said first panel, said panels having common lower ends,

a first flap joined to the lower end of the first panel along a hinge line and extending toward said second panel,

a second flap panel joined to the lower end of the second panel along a hinge line and extending toward said first panel,

interengaging means on said flaps locking same in laterally extending relation to said panels to brace the lower ends of the panels in spaced apart relation and against inward movement toward each other; said flaps and lower ends of said panels cooperating to provide said means to prevent tipping movement toward each other. 5. A container arrangement according to claim 4 wherein said tab means comprise a first pair of tabs extending outwardly from opposite side edges of said first panel, and

a second pair of tabs extending outwardly from opposite side edges of said second panel;

said tabs, each presenting upwardly facing edges, engaging a lower surface of said web to prevent upward separation of the handle means from the container.

6. A container arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said opening in said web is elongated; and

said handle means includes a first generally rectangular panel having a width adjacent its lower end less than the length of said opening,

a second generally rectangular panel having a width adjacent its lower end less than the length of said opening,

a connecting panel connecting the lower ends of said panels along spaced apart first and second hinge lines;

said handle means being foldable along said first hinge line to a first position in which said second panel and connecting panel lie flat against said first panel for insertion through said web opening from above the container set;

relative movement of said first and second panels causing said connecting panel to pivot along said second hinge line to a position transversely between said first and second panels to brace same against inward movement;

said connecting panel and the lower portions of said first and second panels providing said means to prevent tipping of said containers toward each other; and

means to connect said first and second panels together against relative movement when said connecting panel is in said transverse position.

7. A container arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said handle means has a width less than the length of said opening and is insertable through the opening from above; and

said tab means includes an upwardly projecting tab below said web and having an upwardly facing container engaging edge; and

second tab means engaging said tab and urging same laterally of said web opening to prevent upward removal of said handle means through said openmg.

8. A container arrangement particularly adapted for the handling and marketing of nursery plants comprising, in combination a container set including a first generally rectangular, upright thin walled container with a bottom wall and side walls diverging in a direction toward an open top of the container,

a second generally rectangular, upright, thin walled container spaced laterally of said first container and having a bottom wall and side walls diverging toward an open top of the second container,

a web integral with said containers, said web joining said containers above the lower ends thereof and tending to maintain the containers in horizontally aligned relation to each other;

said web having an elongated opening therethrough located generally between said first and second containers;

handle means extending through said opening to facilitate lifting said container set, said handle means being formed from flexible sheet material and comprising a first generally rectangular panel having a width adjacent its lower end less than the width of said opening,

a second generally rectangular panel having a width adjacent its lower end less than the width of said opening, and

a narrow connecting panel connected at one side along a first hinge line to the lower end of said first panel, and at the other side, along a second hinge line to the lower end of said second panel;

said handle being foldable along said first hinge line to a flattened condition in which said second panel and connecting panel lie flat against said first panel for insertion through said opening from above the container set, and

expandable to an expanded condition by relative movement of said first and second panels to cause said connecting panel to pivot about said second hinge line to a generally transverse position between said containers;

whereby, the lower end of the handle is wedged between the containers against upward separation and tipping of the containers toward each other is prevented; the lower ends of said first and second panels, and said connecting panel forming the sole means preventing separation of said handle from said container set in an upward direction. 9. A container arrangement according to claim 7 wherein said handle means further includes stop means presenting a downwardly facing stop surface engageable with an upwardly facing surface of the container means to limit depth of insertion of the handle means through said openmg. 10. A plant container arrangement comprising in combination a container set of unitary construction including a first thin walled container, a second thin walled container spaced laterally from said first container, and flexible means flexibly joining said containers above the lower ends thereof and tending to maintain same in generally horizontal alignment with each other, said flexible means being integral with said containers, said set of containers having a lateral dimension as measured across said set from an outside edge of said first container to an outside edge of said second container; a unitary handle connected to said container set, said handle having a narrow lateral profile as compared with said lateral dimension of said container set, said handle including, means extending between said containers to restrain said containers against substantial tipping movement toward each other at said flexible means when lifted by said handle; said flexible means joining said containers has an opening therein; said handle means is formed from sheet material, has a width adjacent its lower end to pass through said opening in said flexible means, and includes a first portion joined to and in facing relation to a second portion; and said handle means further including expandable means responsive to movement of said first and second portions to a different position relative to each other to expand the lower end of the handle means to prevent upward removal of i

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3931916 *Aug 15, 1974Jan 13, 1976Slip-Not CorporationDispensing-type box
US3971160 *Nov 18, 1974Jul 27, 1976Leslie VajtayEnvironmental package
US4209945 *Sep 11, 1978Jul 1, 1980Capability Brown LimitedPlant growth package
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US5438796 *Nov 12, 1993Aug 8, 1995Nathan; Melvin A.Label identified planter
US5953859 *Sep 11, 1997Sep 21, 1999Insta-Bed Floral SystemsRechargeable live planter assembly and method of use thereof
US6401375Mar 16, 1999Jun 11, 2002The John Henry CompanyPlant tag
US6986222Feb 4, 2003Jan 17, 2006Bradley CochranPlanting receptacle assembly and a method for planting
US7025877 *Jun 3, 1999Apr 11, 2006Baxter International Inc.Processing set for processing and treating a biological fluid
US7105093Oct 8, 2002Sep 12, 2006Baxter International Inc.Improved apparatus for light treatment of biological fluid that contains light activated photochemical agent for inactivating pathogens that may be present in biological fluid; blood
US7425304Feb 13, 2006Sep 16, 2008Fenwal, Inc.containers used for treating blood and blood components using ultraviolet radiation; contains photosensitizers and adsorber materials for removing excess photosensitizers and photoactivation by-products
US7445756Oct 11, 2002Nov 4, 2008Fenwal, Inc.Treating biological fluid with light; connecting flexible container, tube; folding; disposable products
US7857197Oct 23, 2006Dec 28, 2010The John Henry CompanyPlant tray/pot handle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification47/87, 220/770, 206/558, 206/804, 229/117.24, 206/423
International ClassificationA01G9/02, G09F1/04, B65D25/28, A01G5/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D25/2823, A01G5/04, G09F1/04, A01G9/028, Y10S206/804
European ClassificationG09F1/04, A01G9/02G, B65D25/28A3, A01G5/04