US 3710900 A
A system for conveniently storing and transporting tape cartridges and cassettes comprising a plurality of compartmentalized modular trays interchangeably utilizable with an assortment of dissimilarly configured outer cases. Each modular tray includes spacer means defining compartments for individually holding the cartridges or cassettes. The trays are relatively sized so that a predetermined number thereof may be fitted into any one of a variety of outer cases either for storage or display purposes, or for transporting from one location to another. Due to the modular configuration of the compartmentalized trays, the tape cassettes or cartridges may be conveniently stored in distinct groupings which may be separately removed from one outer case and placed into another.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Fink [ 1 Jan. 16,1973
1541 MODULAR SYSTEM FOR TRANSPORTING AND STORING TAPE CARTRIDGES AND CASSETTES  Inventor: Arthur Alan Fink, 5951Vlclean Avenue, Yonkers, NY. 10705 22 Filed: Sept. 30, 1970 21 Appl.No.: 76,792
 US. Cl. ..190/5l, 150/52 R, 206/1 R, 206/73, 206/DIG. 36, 220/17, 224/45 R,
 Int. Cl ..A45c 13/00  Field of Search ..220/22.3, 23.4, 17 R, 102;
206/1 R, 62 R, DIG. 36, 73; 312/10; 150/52 E, 52 J, 1.5 R, 52 R; 224/45, 45.7, 45.14;
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Primary ExaminerGerald M. Forlenza Assistant ExaminerFrank E. Werner Att0rneyI-Iubbell, Cohen & Stiefel 5 7 ABSTRACT A system for conveniently storing and transporting tape cartridges and cassettes comprising a plurality of compartmentalized modular trays interchangeably utilizable with an assortment of dissimilarly configured outer cases. Each modular tray includes spacer means defining compartments for individually holding the cartridges or cassettes. The trays are relatively sized so that a predetermined number thereof may be fitted into any one of a variety of outer cases either for storage or display purposes, or for transporting from one location to another. Due to the modular configuration of the compartmentalized trays, the tape cassettes or cartridges may be conveniently stored in distinct groupings which may be separately removed from one outer case and placed into another.
1 Claim, 6 Drawing Figures Great Britain ..206/62 R PATENTED JAN 16 I975 SHEET 2 BF 2 ARTHUR A. FINK L A'ITUR. m5
MODULAR SYSTEM FOR TRANSPORTING AND STORING TAPE CARTRIDGES AND CASSETTES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to portable devices for storing and transporting small items, and more particularly to the structure and arrangement of a system particularly suitable for conveniently storing and carrying tape cartridges and cassettes.
2. Discussion of the Prior Art With the advent of modern recording and playback equipment utilizing sound tapes as a recording medium, a need arises for equipment to conveniently store and transport small cassettes or cartridges of such tapes. The cassettes or cartridges are characteristically small rectangular, relatively thin plastic receptacles having the tapes contained therein. When a tape is to be played, the entire cartridge or cassette is engaged within the playback equipment and the recorded sound is reproduced without removing the tape from its receptacle.
As in the case of phonograph records, each cartridge or cassette contains a specific quantity and type of recorded sound, usually a musical composition, and it is customary to store a rather large number of such cartridges or cassettes. Due to their convenient size, they are relatively easier to transport than phonograph records and they are less prone to damage.
It will be apparent that the characteristic size and shape of tape cartridges and cassettes will require equipment for storage and transportation thereof which is different from that used with phonograph records or other differently shaped recording items. Additionally, this characteristic size and shape of the tape receptacles offers an opportunity to provide equipment particularly suitable for use therewith which will enable unusual versatility and convenience with regard to the transporting and storage thereof.
For example, because of the more compact configuration of tapes it would be possible to conveniently store them in proximity to the playback equipment in a manner whereby selection of a particular cartridge or cassette could be readily accomplished. Additionally, it would be of great advantage if such storage equipment were designed to be comparable with other equipment useful in transporting the tapes from one storage location to another. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that tape cassettes and cartridges have an inherent tendency to be amenable to storage and handling in a more convenient manner than other sound recording media. However, in order to take better advantage of this tendency appropriate equipment must be concieved and manufactured. Such equipment in addition to being especially adapted to utilization in an advantageous way with tape cartridges and cassettes, must also be simple in its configuration and economical to manufacture and sell. Since the commercial application for such equipment is in a consumer market, it must involve high volume sales at modest or low price. Accordingly, manufacturing expense and complexity will play a significant role in the commercial success of such equipment.
Thus, it will be apparent that a tape cassette and cartridge storage and transportation system which is uniquely adapted to develop the inherent advantages of such receptacles while being at the same time susceptible to successful commercial exploitation, will provide a significant forward achievement within the related art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly, the present invention may be described as a system for storing and transporting small generally rectangular tape receptacles, said system comprising a plurality of modular trays adapted to have said tape receptacles removably stored therein, spacer means formed on said modular trays defining therein compartments for individually retaining said tape receptacles, and a plurality of dissimilarly configured separately structured cases sized to interchangeably removably retain therein a plurality of said modular trays.
By a more specific aspect of the invention each of the modular trays is integrally formed of molded plastic material and comprises a bottom, a pair of side walls and a pair of end walls, with said side walls being greater in length than said end walls and spaced apart a distance enabling insertion therebetween of said tape receptacles, said spacer means extending from the side walls to define said individualized tape receptacle compartments.
In the utilization of the invention, the modular trays, having stored therein a plurality of tape receptacles, may be selectively interchangeably retained within any one of a plurality of dissimilarly configured cases, with each of the cases being structured either to facilitate transportation of the tapes from one location to another, or for storing the tapes in a particular location in a manner which will facilitate their display and use. Additionally, each of the individual trays may be structured to have a handle attached thereto whereby a single modular tray may be conveniently carried from one location to another.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention will be best understood by reference to the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective depicting a carrying case having a plurality of modular trays fitted therein;
FIG. 2 is a sectional front elevation of the device of FIG. 1 showing the modular trays positioned therein with the carry case cover in the closed position;
FIGS. 3 & 4 are views in perspective showing arrangements of the present invention wherein the modular trays are retained in case means facilitating display of the tape receptacles and storing of the receptacles in a position for convenient retrieval;
FIG. 5 is a view in perspective showing a single modular tray fitted with handle means to facilitate transporting thereof; and 7 FIG. 6 is a view in perspective showing the modular tray of FIG. 5 having cover means fitted thereabout.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now in detail to the drawings, the present invention is shown as basically comprising a modular tray 10 having a bottom 12, a pair of side walls 14 and l6, and a pair of end walls 18 and 20. The modular tray is integrally formed of molded plastic material and it will be noted that it is structured in an open top configuration. A plurality of similarly sized spacer means 22 extend from each of the side walls 14 and 16 toward the interior of the modular tray 10. The spacer means 22 are formed as truncated walls which extend for a short distance along the width of the modular tray 10 with each spacer means formed on either a side wall 14 or 16 juxtaposed opposite another similar spacer means 22 positioned directly thereacross on the opposite sidewall 14 or 16.
The modular trays 10 are configured to retain therein a plurality of tape receptacles 24. The tape receptacles 24 are generally comprised of an outer plastic case having a length of sound tape (not shown) contained therein in a manner whereby the receptacle 24 may be inserted into sound reproducing apparatus without removal of the tape therefrom with the tape being driven within the receptacle 24 to reproduce the sound recorded thereon. Tape receptacles 24 are commonly commercially available and are generally provided in either one of two standard sizes, with one of said sizes being referred to as a cartridge and the other size being termed a cassette."
The spacer means 22 are provided within the modular tray 10 in a spaced arrangement whereby a tape receptacle 24 may be inserted within the modular tray 10 between a pair of spacer means 22 on one side of the tape receptacle 24 and between a second pair of spacer means 22 on the opposite side thereof. It will be understood that the spacer means 22 are arranged to retain therebetween the tape receptacles 24 in individual compartmentalized fashion. The juxtaposition of the spacer means 22 is such that there is formed within each of the modular trays 10 a series of compartments with each of said compartments being sized to removably retain therein a tape receptacle 24.
It will be apparent that depending upon whether the system is to be utilized with either cartridges or cassettes it will be necessary to appropriately size the modular trays 10. The side walls 14 and 16 should be spaced a distance apart appropriate to permit the tape receptacle 24 to be inserted therebetween in removably retaining engagement between spacer means 22. Additionally, the depth of a modular tray 10 should be appropriate to the size of the tape receptacle 24 to be retained therein, and since only two sizes of tape receptacles 24 are available, i.e. either cartridges or cassettes, the modular trays 10 may be commercially provided in either one of these two sizes.
The modular trays 10 may be readily and inexpensively formed as a completely integral structure of molded plastic material. Due to their special shape and configuration, the modular trays 10 will form the basic lar trays 10. The length, width and depth of the bottom section 28 of the carry case 26 are appropriately sized so that a fixed number of modular trays 10 will be snugly held therein. Inasmuch as the modular trays l0 are uniformly sized, the carry case 26 will be adapted to specified interchangeably receive and hold any predetermined number of trays 10. FIG. 1 shows a carry case 26 capable of holding four modular trays 10, but it will be understood that a larger or smaller carry case may be provided. Furthermore, it will be clear that any number of modular trays 10 may be in the possession of a user of a system of the present invention and that the user may select any four from said large number for insertion and transporting within the carry case 26. This interchangeability of the particular modular trays '10 which are held and transported within the carry case 26 enables significant versatility in the utilization of the system of the present invention. Depending upon the specific set of tape receptacles 24 which the user may require, a particular plurality of modular trays 10 may be selected for insertion into the carry case 26 to enable transporting thereof to a desired location.
It will be apparent that each modular tray 10 may be especially arranged to contain a set of tape receptacles 24 with each of said tape receptacles containing tape having recorded thereon sound or musical compositions which are interrelated or similar in style. Accordingly, depending upon the particular group of tape receptacles 24 which the user may wish to have available, the modular trays 10 may be selectively inserted and transported in the carry case 26 in a manner which will conveniently suit the particular tastes andrequirements ofa user of the system.
It will be noted that the carry case 26 comprises a cover 30 and latch means 32 to thereby enable secure, dust-free retention of the tape receptacles 24 within the case 26. Handle means 34 is provided by attachment to the cover 30 to enable and facilitate convenient removal of the carry case 26 from one location to another.
FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings depict two additional types of case means wherein the modular trays 10 may be retained for convenient storage and display of the tape receptacles 24. In FIG. 3, a rectangularly shaped open top case 36 has fitted therein three modular trays 10 each arranged vertically in a side by side relationship. A plurality of tape receptacles 24 are retained between the spacer means 22 formed in each of the modular trays 10 in a position to be readily viewed and easily accessible for removal from within the modular trays 10 when it is desired to utilize a tape receptacle in connection with sound reproducing apparatus. The case 36 is rotatably mounted upon a turntable support mechanism 38 for convenient location to permit viewing and access of the tape receptacles 24 from a variety of positions.
FIG. 4 depicts an arrangement somewhat similar to the arrangement of FIG. 3 except that the modular trays 10 are arranged with their open tops facing in alternate directions. In the arrangement of FIG. 4 a turntable support mechanism 40 has rotatably mounted thereon a lower support plate 42 with a top support plate 44 being mounted in spaced relationship thereto upon a spindle 46 which extends (not shown) from the lower support plate 42 to the upper support plate 44 while enabling rotation of the entire assembly upon the turntable support mechanism 40. A handle 48 is attached to the upper end of spindle 46 and four modular trays are mounted in alternating disposition between the top support plate 44 and the lower support plate 42. It will be apparent from the drawing that the modular trays 10 may be vertically disposed between the plates 42 and 44 with the open top of each of the modular trays 10 being directed to permit viewing of and access to the tape receptacles 24. By arranging the modular trays 10 such that the bottom 12 of one tray is in abutment with a sidewall 14 of an adjacent tray, the trays may be arranged with each of them having their open tops directed on a side of the assembly different from the side on which the open tops of each of the other trays are directed. Accordingly, it will be seen that in the arrangement of FIG. 4 there will be enabled access to a tray of tape receptacles 24 from four different sides of the arrangement. By rotation of the plates 42, 44 and of the spindle 46, the assembly may be turned so that access may be had to any one of the four dissimilarly directed modular trays 10.
Added versatility in the functioning and use of the elements of the system of the present invention is enabled by the arrangement shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawing. As shown in FIG. 5, a single modular tray 10 may be fitted with a handle 50 to enable convenient transporting of an individual tray 10 with a plurality of tape receptacles 24 contained therein. The handle 50 comprises a U shaped configuration and includes a pair of reentrant ends 52 and 54 which are engageable within a pair of openings 56 and 58 formed in the ends of the modular tray 10. The handle 50 is made of a resilient material, preferably metallic, whereby flexure thereof will enable removal from and retention in the openings 56 and 58 of the reentrant ends 52 and 54. In accordance with the configuration of FIG. 5 a single modular tray may be conveniently transported when the number of tape receptacles 24 which are to be moved from one location to another is minimal and does not require handling of a plurality of the modular trays 10.
FIG. 6 depicts the modular tray 10 of FlG. 5 with a fitted cover 60 extending thereabout. The cover 60 may be provided with a size especially suited to any one of a number of similarly sized modular trays l0, and may be retained thereabout to prevent damage and soilage of the tape receptacles 24 to be stored or transported therein.
From the foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention it will be seen that the special structure and arrangement of the modular tray 10 provides the basic unit relating the various elements of the system of the present invention in a manner to enable convenient interchangeability of the parts. A high degree of versatility is afforded, the features of interchangeability enable the storage and transporting of tape cartridges and cassettes with enhanced convenience and flexibility. By utilization of the equipment of the system of the present invention, tape cartridges and cassettes may be transported between locations and then, by the simple expedient of interchanging the modular trays 10 between different case means, the cartridges or the cassettes may be displayed in a storage array which permits ready access thereto while enabling the trays to be held in a position where viewability permits easy retrieval of a selected cartridge or cassette. Additionally, the entire system may be manufactured and assembled in a manner and at a cost which is favorable to the commercial promotion and marketability of the system. It will be clear that the various elements of the system may be sold as a group including all of the elements of the system or any number of the individual components thereof.
Although the present invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments thereof, it will be apparent that modifications and variations of the specific structure described may be provided within the knowledge of those skilled in the art, and that such modifications and variations are to be considered within the scope and purview of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A system for storing and transporting small generally rectangular tape receptacles, said system comprising in combination a plurality of open top compartmentalized modular trays, each of said trays being integrally formed of molded plastic material and comprising a bottom, a pair of side walls and a pair of end walls, with said side walls being greater in length than said end walls and spaced apart a distance enabling insertion closely therebetween of said tape receptacles, spacer means extending from said side walls defining compartments for individually containing said tape receptacles; case means configured to removably retain an integral number of said modular trays therein; said system further including handle means comprising an elongated rod formed from resilient material; means defined by said modular trays for removably engaging said handle means, said handle means being resiliently deformable for engagement with and disengagement from a modular tray whereby said modular tray may be individually held and transported; and cover means adapted to individually removably enclose a modular tray while said handle means is engaged with said modular tray in a manner whereby said handle means and said cover means may be separately individually removed and replaced upon said modular tray without interfering with each other.