US 3758017 A
A readily assembled and disassembled container fabricated of rigid panels to provide maximum protection to the transported product, in which cooperating tabs and notches are relied on solely to assemble the panels, i.e., no nails, bolts, screws or the like, nor is assembly facilitated by any appreciable bending of the rigid panels. Instead, an angular orientation of the tabs and notches, which orientation will not often occur inadvertently, is made a requirement for panel assembly and disassembly.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Uted States Patent 1 1 1111 3,758,017 Ross Sept. 11, I973 RIGID PANEL CONTAINER 729,062 5 1955 Great Britain. 217 1212 265,489 2/1927 Great Britain... 217/12 R  Inventor: 126 calfml'a 380,636 9/1964 Switzerland 217/12 R Freeport, NY. 11501  Filed: Sept. 24, 1971 Primary Examiner-Samuel B. Rothberg I21] Appl' 183571 Assistant Examiner-Stephen Marcus Att0rneyBauer and Amer 1  US. Cl. 229/14 C, 206/46 FC, 229/23 R, 229/48 R  Int. Cl 865d 5/32, 865d 5/60  Field of Search 217/12, 13, 43, 45, 1 1 ABSTRACT ,217/53; 220/4 F, 75; 229/6, 14 C, 48 R, 23 R,
4 206/46 FC A readily assembled and disassembled container fabricated of rigid panels to provide maximum protection to  References C ted the transported product, in which cooperating tabs and UNITED STATES, PATENTS notches are relied on solely to assemble the panels, i.e., 2 025 420 12 1935 .Osgood 217 12 R ails, Screws or the like" is assembly fad; 2:178:984 11 1939 Zimmerman.... 229/48 R med by y appreciable bending f the rigid P 3,204,803 9/1965 Sandkuhle 217/12 R Instead, an angularorientation of the tabs and notches, 3,273,779 9/1966 Mykleby 206/46 FC which orientation will not often occur inadvertently, is 1,952,817 1 3 eary 217/12 R made a requirement for panel assembly and disassem- 1,498,377 6/1924 Honigbaum 217 43 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 666,117 Great Britain 217/12 R 1 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures INVENTOR DONALD R. ROSS F164 BY ATTORNEYS The present invention relates generally to improvements for shipping containers, the improvements relating to the ease of assembling and disassembling the container, and more specifically to such containers constructed of rigid, rather than deformable, panels.
Maximum product protection is, of course, afforded by rigid panel containers because of the greater strength in the construction materials used for the panels. Yet, the flexing of deformable or bendable panels is often the prerequisite for assembling such panels and thereby obviating the need for nails, bolts, straps, or other such connecting or fastening means. The container hereof provides, in a noteworthy manner, both the features of rigid panel construction and of ease of assembly and disassembly thereof.
Broadly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container having rigid panels and which is nevertheless easily assembled and disassembled, and thus overcomes the shortcomings of minimum product protection of deformable panel containers. Specifically, it is an object to achieve construction panel assembly solely with cooperating tabs and notches, the same being readily put together but nevertheless not readily disengaged when subjected to normal and typical jostling and the like as may occur during transit of the container.
Container construction panels demonstrating objects and advantages of the present invention include male or tab panels, and female or notch panels. Specifically, said panel notch is so sized relative to said panel tab that the assembly and disassembly of the same requires a specific angular orientation in the tabs for its proper entry into and exit from a cooperating notch. This achieves the result desired since it has been found in practice that said required angular orientation does not often inadvertently occur. I
The above brief description, as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of a presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rigid panel container according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a partial plan view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating details of the cooperating tab and notch connecting structure of the container panels;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, in section taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2, illustrating further structural features of said tab and notch and in which, additionally, the positions of movementof a panel to achieve interconnection between said tab and notch .are illustrated in full line and phantom line perspective;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view similar to FIG; 3 and illustrating how an assembled condition is maintained by internal resilient packing within the container; and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial side elevational view of identical except for size, and constitute cording to the present invention, is readily assembled and disassembled because of the noteworthy interconnecting structure of said panels, all as will be explained in detail subsequently. That is, container 10 is readily assembled using the illustrated panels, without any use of nails, bolts, or other such connecting structure into the rectangular shape illustrated having a top 12, a bottom 14, and four side panels including two opposite ends 16 and 18 and sides 20 and 22. Of the foregoing,
the top 12, bottom 14, and two sides 20 and 22 are what might be characterized as the male panels in that they contain tab structures, generally designated 24. Cooperating therewith are the remaining identical end panels 16 and 18 which each includes, in each of their four sides, tabaccommodating notches, generally designated 26. It will be understood that each of the noted panels of which container 10 is comprised is rigid, or in other words cannot be significantly bent out of plane, and therefore the bending of these panels is not available for achieving said interconnected relation between the tabs 24 and notches 26. Nevertheless, this interconnecting relation must be readily achieved so that the assembly of the containers 10 is not too complicated. At thesame time, container 10 must be readily disassembled in order to obtain access to the merchandise being transported therein, without at the same time inadvertently coming apart or becoming disassembled during transit of the container 10. It will now be described how these objectives are achieved using rigid panels which, in an obvious manner, afford optimum protection against breakage and other such damageto which products are subjected when transported within the container 10.
It will be understood that, except for size, each of the tab structures 24 and each of the notch constructions 26 are identical so that for brevitys sake only one of each of these will be described in connection with FIGS. 2-5. As is perhaps best illustrated in F IG. 2, each tab structure 24, as exemplified by the illustrated tab structure on the top panel 12, includes a tab 28 in the plane of the body of the rigid panel 12 which extends in projected relation beyond an end edge 30. More particularly, tab 28 is connected to edge 30 by a connecting section 32.. The transverse dimension of section 32 is of a specific selected size (herein also connotated by the reference numeral 32) which is less than the transverse dimension 34 of tab 28. The difference between the transverse dimensions 34 and 32 thus provides holding surfaces 36, 38 on the tab 28 which are adapted to engage end panel 16 at areas coextensive with the surfaces 36 and 38 and thus prevent disengagement of the two panels 12 and 16 as the result of a tab-accommodating notch together with reference lines which illustrate the size relationship thereof to a cooperating tab.
Reference is now made to the drawings wherein there is shown a container, generally designated 10, which is comprised of plural rectangular panels which bound a correspondingly rectangular volume and which, ac-
any relative movement 39 in either of the intercom nected'panels l2 and 16. That is, these holding surfaces 36 and 38 prevent disengaging movement 39 of panel 12 relative to panel 16 and also hold panel 16 in its vertical orientation relative to the panel 12.
Referring now more. particularly to FIGS. 34, each notch construction 26, as clearly illustrated in these figures, is provided in a peripheral panel section, such as section 37 of panel 16. Specifically, each notch 26 starts at first juncture locations 40 and 42 of the upper peripheral edge 44 of panel 16 with each of two notch side edges 46 and 48. The sides 46 and 48 extend inwardly from the border section edge 44 and have an outwardly diverging relation to each other, the significance of which will soon be described, until terminating in second juncture locations 50 and 52 with a bottom notch edge 54. The size of each notch 26 is highly significant in implementing the connecting relation with the tab structures 24. Said size is such that the diagonal distance 56 of the notch, as measured between one of the juncture points 50, 52 and one of the juncture points 40, 42, is equal to the previously noted transverse dimension of a tab connecting section 32. However, since the side edges 46 and 48 converge in the direction of the upper edge 44, the opening 58 of the notch 26, as measured between the juncture locations 40 and 42, is smaller than said tab connecting section transverse dimension 32.
As a result of the foregoing, the tab connecting sec- .tion in its selected size 32 can only be projected into the notch 26 when having an angular orientation which is parallel to the reference line 56 (See, in particular, FIG. 5). Moreover, assuming that the connecting section 32 is in spanning relation between the juncture locations 50 and 52, a condition which exists when supported on the bottom edge 54, any applied force which tends to simultaneously lift the tab connecting section 32 while maintaining its horizontal orientation, as for example forces 60 and 62 (again see FIG. 5), will result in jamming of the opposite end edges 64 and 66 of each connecting section 32 against the notch side edges 46 and 48. Thus, angular orientation parallel to reference line 56 is necessary both to disengage and to engage a tab structure 24 and a cooperating notch construction 26.
FIGS. 3 and 4, to which reference is now specifically made, illustrate a typical assembling procedure for the container 10. Specifically, top 12 is initially angled at approximately a 45 angle within the top opening of the container as bounded by the end and side panels 16, 18, 20 and 22. Thus, the end edge 64 of the tab connecting section 32 thereof seats at juncture location 50, and panel 12 is then rotated through pivotal movement 68. During such movement, the opposite end edge 66 clears the juncture location 42 and moves alongthe notch side edge 48 until assuming a supported position at juncture location 52 upon the notch bottom edge 54, which completes assembly of the top panel 12 within the top opening of the container 10. As already noted, movement disengaging or disassembling panel 12 from its position in the top opening of the container also requires a diagonal orientation of the tab structure 24 relative to the notch 26.
FIG. 4 illustrates that the pivotal movement 68 which serves, as just noted, to engage panel 12 with the end panels 16, 18, is preferrably made against the urgency of appropriate resilient packing material 70 which may be internally disposed within the container 10 in a protective encircling position about the transported object 72. That is, atthe' initial portion of its pivotal movement 68, an end portionof the panel 12 which is inserted within the container 10 will cause compression 74 in the material 70. However, once panel 12 assumes its interconnected position, as illustrated in phantom perspective in FIG. 4, the resilient material 70 is effective to exert the previously noted lifting forces 60 and 62 causing binding, as at points 64 and 66 in FIG. 5, between each cooperating connecting tab 24 and notch 26. As a consequence, in addition to the requirement that there exist the noted diagonal orientation of the tabs and tab-accommodating notches before disengagement can occur, an orientation which it has been found in practice will not ordinarily occur during typical transportation of the container 10, the forceapplying resilient packing material 70 contributes, in an obvious manner, to further maintain the interconnected assembled relation of the rigid panels of the container 10.
From the foregoing, it should be readily appreciated that there has been described herein noteworthy cooperating construction panels capable of being used to readily construct a container without the need for further fastening means such as nails,,bolts, screws and the like. Yet, even though dispensing with such fastening means, the assembled containers 10 do not inadvertently become disassembled by virtue of the requirement of a specific angular orientation of one panel relative to the other in order to achieve this result.
A latitude of modification, change and substitution is intended in the foregoing disclosure, and in some instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the spirit and scope of the invention herein.
What is claimed is:
1. A rectangular container defined by an interconnected arrangement of a rigid top, a rigid bottom, and
- four rigid sides, said top, bottom and two of said sides each comprising a rigid body having peripheral edges, at least one tab-connecting section on each of two opposite edges each-projecting from one said peripheral edge and having a transverse dimension of a first selected prescribed extent, and a connecting tab on each said tab-connecting section of a greater transverse extent than that of said tab-connecting section to provide holding surfaces extending in opposite directions laterally thereof, and said remaining two sides each comprising a rigid body having peripheral border sectionspresenting peripheral edges thereabout, at least one tab-accommodating notch in each of two opposite peripheral border sections each bounded by opposing notch side edges originating in said peripheral edge of said border section at spaced-apart first juncture locations and extending inwardly therefrom in an outwardly diverging relation to each other to second juncture locations with a notch bottom edge, each said tabaccommodating notch being selectively sized so that the transverse dimension thereof as measured between a said first juncture locations bounding the opening into each said notch is smaller than said first selected transverse dimension of said tab-connecting section and is substantially equal to the size thereof in a diagonal dimension as measured between one said first juncture location and one said second juncture location so that the assembly and disassembly of said container contemplates a diagonal orientation of said tab and tabaccommodating notch, and internally disposed resilient packing material effective to urge each panel and the tab-connecting sections thereon outwardly into contacting relation against cooperating notch side edges to thereby contribute to maintaining said assembled condition of said container during the transportation thereof.