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Publication numberUS3784022 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 8, 1974
Filing dateMar 22, 1972
Priority dateMar 22, 1972
Also published asCA954835A, CA954835A1
Publication numberUS 3784022 A, US 3784022A, US-A-3784022, US3784022 A, US3784022A
InventorsBeesley W
Original AssigneeBeesley W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable and disposable dispensing packages
US 3784022 A
Abstract
Two tier portable and disposable dispensing packages of cardboard or plastic construction including upper and lower tapered ramps connected by a chute and flanked by side panels for storage and sequential dispensing of canned or cylindrically-encased food or drink. The packages are also collapsible and can be manually carried in hand from place to place. Some packages may be vertically coupled together such that two tier packages may form a continuous multitier dispensing unit for receiving and dispensing cylindrical containers.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Beesley, Jr. 1 Jan. 8, 1974 [54] PORTABLE AND DISPOSABLE DISPENSING 2,996,344 8/1961 Gar-man 312/45 PACKAGES 3,032,230 5/1962 Gerber..... 220/94 R X 3,286,846 11/1966 Brandes... 211/49 D Inventor: William y, J 55 pp 3,669,277 6 1972 Beesley.... 211 49 D B1vd., Salt Lake City, Utah 84117 22 i Man 22, 1972 Primary Examiner-James C. Mitchell Att0rneyLynn G. Foster [21] Appl. No.: 237,192

Related US. Application Data [57] ABSTRACT [63] sgg gr g of H4284 Two tier portable and disposable dispensingpackages of cardboard or plastic construction mcludmg upper 52 US. Cl. 211/49 1) 193/27 312/45 and lwer tapered amps named by a chute and 51 Int. Cl. A471 7/00 flanked by Side Panels Storage and Sequential 58 Field Of Search 312/45; 220/94 R; f canned cylindricanyencased 229/41 R 52 211/49 193/27 drink. The packages are also collapsible and can be manually carried in hand from place to place. Some [56] References Cited packages may be vertiti ally coupled togetherlsuch t(li1at two t1er pac ages may orm a contmuous mu titier is- UNITED STATES PATENTS pensing unit for receiving and dispensing cylindrical 682,306 9/1901 Woolsey 229/41 R Containers 2,690,289 9/1954 Claus et a1. 229/52 A 2,915,162 12/1959 Umstead 211/49 D X 1 Claim, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTED JAN 8 i974 SHEET 10? 4 FIG. 2

INVENTOR. WILLIAM N. BEE LEYJR.

FIG. 3

ATTORNEY PATENTEUJAN 8 I974 3.784.022

sum 2 OF 4 INVENTOR. WILLIAM N. BEES Y JR ATTORNEY PATENTEUJAN 8 I974 SHEET 3 BF 4 FIG. 6

INVENTOR. WILLIAM N. BE ESLEYJR ATTORNEY 1 PORTABLE AND DISPOSABLE DISPENSING PACKAGES CONTINUITY This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 114,284, filed Feb. 10, 1971, and now abandoned.

BACKGROUND 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates generally to collapsible carriers and disposable storage packages for receiving and from which cylindrical containers may be sequentially dispensed and more particularly to a two tier carrying and dispensing package that can be individually used for receiving, carrying and/or dispensing a plurality of cylindrical units. Packages according to the present invention may be vertically stacked together in releasable, though retained, relation to form an erect large continuous dispensing package from which cylindrical containers located therein may be sequentially removed.

2. Prior Art Dispensing devices and article carriers for canned foods and beverages and the like are well known in the art. Examples of known prior art dispensers can be found in US Pat. Nos. 2,915,162 and 2,969,151. Conventionally such prior art dispensers include a fixed size, are of a semi-permanent design, are intricately configurated and are so constructed that the cost thereof is disadvantageously high, and accordingly, the use thereof has been limited.

BRIEF SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention, two tier carrying and storage packages are provided of flat components, preferably fabricated from paper or plastic material, comprising spaced sidewalls, a chute-defining back wall and sloped upper and lower ramps are economically provided. When the components are combined in erect relation, a portable and collapsible package for receiving cylindrical containers, such as those in which canned goods and canned beverages are placed for commercial distribution, results. The cylindrical containers follow each other by force ,of gravity along the two ramps as the containers are sequentially removed at the front end of the lower ramp. In one embodiment, individual two tier container-receiving packages may be releasably stacked one above another to form a larger storage and dispensing unit, with containers placed therein being sequentially removed from the lowest package in a first-in, first-out fashion.

It is a primary object of the present invention to provide novel two tier storage packages for cylindrical containers of the type in which canned foods and canned beverages are placed for commercial distribution.

It is another paramount object of the present invention to provide an improved economical container storage package formed of flat components, which are readily placed in an erect condition to receive containers. It is a further important object of the present invention to provide a novel storage package for cylindrical containers comprised of flat components which may be readily shipped in a knocked down condition and quickly erected to receive and store containers.

It is a further significant object of the present invention to provide a novel container-receiving package which is both collapsible and disposable.

These and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective representation of one presently preferred two tier container-receiving package according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged longitudinal cross section taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 showing the package filled with cylindrical containers;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective showing one manner in which flat components may be assembled and retained in erect condition as the package of FIG.

FIG. 4 is a perspective representation of a second presently preferred embodiment according to the present invention, showing the manner in which two container-receiving packages may be vertically stacked one above the other;

FIG. 5 is a perspective representation of still another presently preferred container-receiving package according to the present invention, the solid lines representing the erect condition of the package and the dotted lines illustrating the collapsed position;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged longitudinal cross section of the package of FIG. 5 taken along line 66 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a blank used to form the container-receiving package of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross section taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 4 showing the manner in which one package of FIG. 4 is releasably retained in vertically stacked relation with a second such package;

FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 are perspective representations directed toward two handles which may be used in conjunction with the packages of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of an additional presently preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is an exploded view of the device of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS TI-IE CONTAINER-RECEIVING PACKAGE OF FIGS. l-3

Reference is now made to the Figures and particularly to FIGS. 1-3 wherein one present preferred container-receiving package, generally designated 10, is illustrated. The components of the package 10 are essentially planar and desirably formed of plastic, cardboard, or like low cost material. The containerreceiving package 10 is comprised of spaced, though parallel vertical side panels 12 and 14, which are configurated respectively to be compatible with the remainder of the package 10. Each side panel 12 and 14 is of uniform thickness and defined by a periphery comprising top and bottom edges 15 and 17, a rear edge 19, which is sloped in respect to the vertical and the horizontal, and front rounded edges 21 and 23 between which an edge recess 25 is disposed. Each side panel 12 and 14 comprises an outside face 40 and an inside face 41.

The side panels 12 and 14 are respectively rigidly connected near their back edges 19 to a sloped back panel 16, which is illustrated as being parallel to edges 19, by male tabs 36 comprising part of the back panel 16, which tabs are releasably secured in press-fit relation in properly sized, shaped and located female slots 38 of the two side panels 12 and 14. The tabs 36 may be retained in the assembled condition by any suitable structure, such as small projections or knobs 54 (see especially FIG. 3), when plastic material is utilized. Each knob 54 laterally protrudes from the tab with which it is rigidly associated a short distance at a location beyond the exterior surface 40 of the side panels 12 and 14, in the assembled condition. The tab 36-slot 38 connectors provide for convenient assembling and disassembling of the flat components of the containerreceiving package 10, permitting the containerreceiving package to be easily collapsed, placed or retained in a knocked down" condition for efficient shipping and storage, and to allow for initial and subsequent erection by the user. When erect, the bottom edges 17 of the two side panels 12 and 14 form a continuous ground or floor-engaging support for the package 10.

The back panel 16 is entirely planar, being comprised of two side edges 51, top and bottom edges 53 and 55 and front and back surfaces 57 and S9.

The transverse distance between the two side panels 12 and 14 is also spanned by an upper ramp 34 and a lower ramp 60. The upper ramp 34 is entirely planar comprising spaced side edges 35, a rear edge 37, a front edge 39, a top surface 43 and a bottom surface 45. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the upper ramp 34 is disposed at a small acute angle in respect to the horizontal to accommodate gravity displacement of cylindrical containers 20 along the upper surface 43 each time a container 20 is removed from the package 10, as hereinafter more fully described.

The upper ramp 34 is illustrated as being secured in the described sloped relation by male tabs 36, integral with and projecting from the upper ramp 34 in the same plane through appropriately sized, shaped and located female slots 38 extending transversely through the side panels 12 and 14. The male tabs 36 of the upper ramp 34 may comprise the previously described knobs 54. The upper ramp 34 is oriented normal to the side panels 12 and 14 and is located a short vertical distance below the top edges of the side panels 12 and 14. Consequently, the portions of the side panels 12 and 14 which project above the upper ramp 34 serve as guides defining the path of movement of the series of containers across the upper ramp 34.

The rear edge 37 of the upper ramp 34 terminates a substantial longitudinal distance from the front surface 57 of the sloped back panel 16, the distance being somewhat greater than the diameter of each container 20. Consequently, a vertical chute is formed to the rear of edge 37, in front of surface 57 and between the surfaces 41 of the two side panels 12 and 14 through which cylindrical containers move by force of gravity as containers downstream thereof are removed. Containers 20 moving through the mentioned chute sequentially come to rest upon the lower ramp 60. The lower ramp 60 is preferably held in its illustrated position, which is normal to the side panels 12 and 14 by male tabs 36 press-fit through properly sized, shaped and located slots 38 which pass transversely through the panels 12 and-l4 near the lower edge 17 of each. The tabs 36 may comprise projections 54.

The lower ramp 60, except for its leading end, is planar comprising a back edge 61, spaced side edges 63 and top and bottom surfaces 65 and 67. The back edge 61 of the lower ramp 60 is located near the lower edge 55 of the back panel 16, the ramp 60 being sloped downward toward the front of the package 10, while the upper ramp 34 is sloped in the opposite direction.

The flat portion of the lower ramp 60 terminates in leading edge 69, from which two spaced extensions 86 and 88 project in a forward direction. The extensions 86 and 88 comprise stops for preventing containers 20 from inadvertently moving out of the package 10 due to the force of gravity, and are each of an inverted V configuration. Each extension 86 and 88 comprises a laterally extending tab 36 which projects through an angularly disposed slot 38 in the adjacent side panels 12 and 14 respectively to retain the stops 86 and 88 in the condition illustrated in the Figures.

Clearly, the described package 10 can be readily assembled or disassembled without special tools by untrained individuals. In use, cylindrical containers, for example cans of food produce or cans of beverage, may be sequentially placed upon the upper ramp 34, from which location they will roll by force of gravity along the top surface 43 of the upper ramp 34 through the mentioned vertical chute and along the top surface 65 of the lower ramp 60, the inside surface 41 of each panel 12 and 14 serving as a guide to define the path of displacement taken by the containers 20. Once the package 10 has been filled with cylindrical containers 20, as shown in phantom lines in FIG. 2, it may be placed in a convenient location, for example a storage shelf, a refrigerator or the like. The container 20 disposed in contiguous abutting relation with the stops 86 and 88 is readily accessible to the user, who may grip the container 20 by the fingers at the opposite ends which are exposed by the recesses 25 of the panels 12 and 14 and remove it from the package 10. When this occurs, gravity causes the. remaining containers 20 to advance until the next container engages stops 86 and 88.

THE CONTAINER-RECEIVING PACKAGE OF FIGS. AND 8 Reference is now made particularly to FIGS. 4 and 8 wherein another presently preferred containerreceiving package, generally designated 120, is illustrated. The components of the package are'essentially planar and desirably formed of plastic, cardboard, or like low cost flat stock material. The containerreceiving package 120 is comprised of spaced, though parallel vertical side panels 122 and 124, each equipped to accommodate vertical stacking of a plurality of packages 120 one above another in releasable relation. Side panels 122 and 124 are identical, though opposite hand, each being of uniform thickness and defined by a periphery comprising top and bottom edges 121 and 123, a vertically directed rear edge 125, and,

front sloped edges 127 and 129 which are joined one to another by a generally horizontal intermediate edge 131. Each side panel 122 and 124 comprises an outside face 133 and an inside face 135, each panel being comprised of hollow portions to reduce weight, eliminate unnecessary material and provide for visual examinations of the contents of the package.

Extending below the bottom edge 123 of each side panel 122 and 124 may be two parallel strips 144 of rigid material, each secured by a bonding agent or the like to the side panel from which it depends and together defining a U-shaped recess below the edge 123 of the panel to which the strips 144 are attached. The length of each strip 144, in the illustrations of FIG. 4, is coextensive with the majority of the length of edge 123. Consequently, the lower edge of the two parallel strips 144 may provide ground or floor-engaging support when a single package 120 is utilized. The parallel strips 144 may also be utilized to releasably secure one package 120 to another package 120 in vertically stacked relation, which stacked relation can easily be terminated by merely lifting or sliding one package from the other. As can be seen by reference to FIG. 8, the top edge 121 of a lower package 120 is merely placed within the U-shaped recess formed by the portion of the strips 144 which extend below the panel to which they are bonded. The top edge 121 and the panel of which it forms a part are not in any way permanently secured to the top package 120 or the strips 144.

The side panels 122 and 124 are respectively rigidly connected near their back edges 125 to a sloped back panel 130, which is illustrated as being at a slight acute angle in respect to the vertical, by male tabs 36 comprising part of the back panel 130, which tabs are releasably secured in press-fit relation within properly sized, shaped and located female slots 38 disposed transversely in the two side panels 122 and 124. The back panel 130 is entirely planar, being comprised of two side edges 137, top and bottom edges 139 and 141, and front and back surfaces 143 and 145. Additional stability and support can be obtained by placing a screw, nail or the like through an aperture 172 in the back panel 130 and securing the same in a suitable vertical support, such as a two-by-four stud. The back panel 130 extends laterally between and normal to the two side panels 122 and 124.

The distance between the spaced, parallel side panels 122 and 124 is spanned by two sloped front panels 132 and 134, panel 132 having an opening therein to conserve material and each front panel being essentially flat and comprised at opposed terminal ends of one or more tabs 36 fitted through properly sized, shaped and located female slots 38 in the side panels 122 and 124. The panel 132 is illustrated as being parallel to the edges 127 and spaced a short distance therefrom, while panel 134 is illustrated as being oriented parallel to the edges 129 and spaced a short distance therefrom. The front panel 132 assists in defining a path from an elevated package 120 to a lower package 120 for cylindrical containers of the type previously described so that a sequential displacement of containers results through as many packages 120 as are vertically stacked in a manner hereinafter more fully described. The front panel 134 serves the same purpose when it is associated with an elevated package 120. When it comprises part of the ground or floor-engaging package 120, the front panel 134 acts as a stop for the lowest container in the series.

The transverse distance between the two side panels 122 and 124 is also spanned by an upper ramp I26 and a lower ramp 128. The upper ramp 126 is essentially similar to the previously described ramp 34 comprising a top surface 147, a back edge 150, which together with the front surface 143 of the back panel 130 and the inside surfaces 135 of the panels 122 and 124 form a vertical chute through which cylindrical containers move in sequence as downstream containers are removed. the front edge (not shown) of the upper ramp 126 is disposed in close proximity to the lower edge 148 of the front panel 132, the upper ramp 126 sloping at a slight acute angle to the horizontal from front to rear to accommodate gravity displacement of cylindrical containers along the upper surface 147. The upper ramp 126 is secured by the previously described tabs 36 placed in suitably sized, shaped and located female slots 38 of the panels 122 and 124.

Containers moving through the mentioned chute sequentially come to rest upon the lower ramp 128. The lower ramp 128 is substantially planar and is held in its illustrated position normal to the side panels 122 and 124 by tabs 36 disposed in slots 38 of the side panels 122 and 124. The back edge 151 of the lower ramp 128 is located near the lower edge 141 of the back panel 130, the lower ramp 128 being sloped from back to front of the package 120, the upper surface 153 of the lower ramp 128 defining part of the path traversed by the containers through the package. The leading edge 158 of the lower ramp 128 terminates a longitudinal distance from the front panel 134 which is greater than the diameter of the cylindrical containers to be stored in the package 120. Consequently, a container may drop by force of gravity from one package to a lower package 120 through a vertical chute disposed forward of the leading edge 158 of the lower ramp 128 of the top package 120, the associated front panel 134 of the higher package 120, the associated front panel 132 of the lower package 120 and the inside surfaces of the two panels 122 and 124 of the upper and lower packages 120. The space between the leading edge 158 of the lower ramp 128 and the front panel 134 of the ground or floor-engaging package 120 is assumed by a cylindrical container resting upon the floor or ground therebetween, convenient access for manual removal being provided by the offset relation between the front edges 127 and 129 of the ground or floorengaging package 120.

Clearly, the described package 120 can be readily assembled and disassembled without special tools or trained personnel. The packages 120 may be stacked vertically one upon another. In use, cylindrical containers, for example cans of food produce and cans of beverage, may be sequentially placed upon the upper ramp 126 of the top package 120 from which location they will roll by force of gravity along the upper surface 147 of each upper ram 126 through the vertical chute at the trailing end 150 of each upper ramp 126, along the top surface 153 of each lower ramp 128, through the vertical chute disposed forward of the leading edge 158 of each lower ramp 128 until the leading container comes to rest against the front panel 134 of the ground or floor-engaging package 120, the inside surface 135 of each side panel 122 and 124 serving as a guide to define the path of displacement taken by the containers. As leading containers are sequentially removed from the stacked packages 120, remaining containers will advance to fill the space made by such removal until the lead container abuts the last front panel 134.

THE CONTAINER-RECEIVING PACKAGE OF FIGS. 57

Reference is now made in particular to FIGS. 5-7

wherein another presently preferred containerreceiving package, generally designated 210, is illustrated. Container-receiving package 210 is fabricated from a single piece of cardboard or like suitable material and, once erected into the useable configuration of FIG. may be collapsed by exerting opposed lateral pressure to displace the package 210 from the solid to the dotted position of FIG. 5, the one-piece blank from which the package 210 is formed being illustrated in FIG. 7.

In the erect position of FIGS. 5 and 6, the containerreceiving package 210 comprises two parallel side panels 212 and 214, which extend longitudinally from front to rear in spaced parallel relation. Each side panel 212 and 214 comprises a top edge 215, a bottom l80 fold line 230, a sloped rear fold line 222, an upper rounded front edge 217, a front rounded recess edge 223, a horizontally disposed fold line 219, and a vertically directed front linear edge 221. Side panels 212 and 214 are connected to each other by a back panel 216, interposed in transverse relation to the side panels 212 and 214 and oriented so as to be sloped at a small acute angle in respect to the vertical between and in alignment with opposed 90 fold lines 222. A flap 218 of panel 212 extends parallel to the erect sloped disposition of back panel 216, when the 90 fold at 222 has been made, as does a flap 220 of the panel 214. Suitable bonding agent interposed between the respective flaps 218 and 220 and the back surface of the panel 216 which is contiguous with each flap produces the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 5, with the edges 274 and 276 of the back panel 216 being respectively disposed along the opposed fold lines 222. The back panel 216 is centrally creased along line 225 to accommodate collapsing as illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 5. The back panel 216 is also creased along line 260, which is normal to the line 225, to help define a lower flap 262. The flap 262 terminates in a second fold line 264, the flap being adapted to be folded vertically upward against the inside surface of the remainder of the panel 216 so that the fold line 260 becomes a 180 ground or floor-engaging support edge as are the 180 fold lines 230 of each side panel 212 and 214.

The edge 215 of side panel 212 comprises, in part, a 180 fold line 224 along which the side panel 212 merges with upper ramp structures 228. The upper ramp structure comprises a wedge-shaped connector portion 252, which is disposed in contiguous relation to the inside surface of panel 212, when the crease along line 224 has been made and a fold of 90 has been effectuated along fold line 256. The connector portion 252 is preferably bonded or otherwise suitably secured to the side panel 212 in the position illustrated in FIG. 5. As a consequence, the top surface 257 of the upper ramp 228 is disposed normal to and spans between the side panels 212 and 214 so as to define a modest slope in respect to the horizontal from front to rear (left to right as viewed in FIG. 5). In the indicated position, a flap 254 is provided with a vertical orientation parallel to and contiguous with the inside surface of the panel 214 with a 90 fold existing at line 258. The flap 254 is preferably bonded to the inside surface of the panel 214 such that the edge 246 of the flap 254 is parallel to the edge 215 of the panel 214. The central portion of the upper ramp structure 228 has a central crease line 259 to accommodate the folding action illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 5. In the erect position of FIG.

5, the leading edge 250 of the upper ramp support structure 228 terminates at or near the rounded edges 217 of the panels 212 and 214. The trailing edge 248 of the upper ramp structure 228 terminates substantially forward of the back panel 216 to define a vertical chute through which cylindrical containers of the type previously mentioned may move under force of gravity.

A lower ramp structure 226 extends laterally between and normal to the two side panels 212 and 214, merging with each at 180 fold lines 230. The lower ramp structure 226 also merges with the back panel 216 at fold line 264. The lower ramp structure 226 comprises triangular connector portions 238 and 236 which, in the erect condition are respectively disposed contiguous with and adhered to the adjacent inside surface of the side panels 214 and 212. The interior 90 fold line 240 adjacent each side panel 212 and 214 merges with the adjacent fold line 230 at the forward end thereof and, when connector portions 236 and 238 are adhered to the adjacent side panel, accommodates elevation of the trailing end of the ramp structure 226 for gravity displacement of containers along the top surface 229 thereof. The lower ramp structure 226 is provided with short diagonal lines 266 and 268 which when out together with cutting along line 264 causes the cutout 278 to be removed. This task is undertaken after the package 210 has been erected to the position of FIG. 5. Consequently, when the longitudinal fold line 269 is creased, collapsing of the erect package 210 is accommodated, as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 5.

Clearly, the described package 210 can be readily erected from a one-piece blank and later collapsed without special tools and without trained personnel. In use, cylindrical containers, for example cans of food produce or cans of beverage, may be placed upon the upper ramp structure 228, from which location each will roll by force of gravity along the top surface 257, through the mentioned vertical chute and along the top surface 229 of the lower ramp structure until the leading container abuts the combined straps 270 and 272, the inside surfaces of the side panels 212 and 214 serving as guides to define the path of displacement taken by each container. Cylindrical containers may be removed from the package 210 by manually gripping the ends of the container adjacent the recesses 223 and lifting each container from the package 210. When this occurs, gravity causes the remaining containers in the package 210 to advance until the next successive container engages the stop comprising in combination straps 270 and 272.

HANDLE STRUCTURES It is, under some conditions, desirable to provide the packages of the present invention with handles so that they can be manually carried from place to place. While any suitable handle structure could be resorted to, only two are illustrated for purposes of brevity. Specifically, FIG. 5 illustrates, in perspective, a flexible handle 280 comprising a strap 282, preferably of fiberous or plastic material. The strip 282 terminates at each end in a tongue 284, which fits through the slot or groove 286 in the adjacent side wall of the package. Each tongue 284 comprises a necked down portion 288 below which a cross piece 290 depends. The cross piece 290 is dimensioned such that it can be fitted through the mouth 292 of the slot 286. Thereafter, when the handle is lifted, the top edges 294 of the cross member 290 will engage and bear against the inside surface of the side wall in which slot 286 exists, the neck 288 of the tongue 284 being disposed in the narrow upward extension 296 of the slot 286. This interconnected arrangement is shown in FIG. 9, while the handle parts immediately above-described are shown in an exploded perspective in FIG. 10. As a consequence, the strap 282 is restrained at its ends to the package and the user may grasp the handle 280 to carry the package.

In like manner, with reference to FIG. 11, a handle 300 can be used which comprises a strap 302 comprising folded fiberous material, which may be resinimpregnated. The terminal ends 304 are bonded to the respective side panels of the package. As a consequence, the package may be manually lifted and transported from one place to another by grasping the handle 300.

Where handles are used, it is usually desirable to place a suitable stop at the front of the top ramp of the package to prevent containers from in advertently rolling from the package.

THE CONTAINER-RECEIVING PACKAGE OF FIGS. 12 AND 13 Reference is now made in particular to FIGS. 12 and 13 wherein another presently preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, generally designated 310.

As shown, this form of the present invention comprises two or more side members 312 joined by a plurality of connecting members 314. The side members 312 are identical and may be formed of any suitable material, such as molded plastic. The side members 312 are formed with upper and lower longitudinal rails, as seen at 316 and 318, respectively, joined by spacer bars 320 which extend generally vertically between the upper and lower rails 316 and 318. However, as shown, the upper rail 316 is preferably offset rearwardly from the lower rail 318. The rails 316 and 318 taper uniformly in heighth from their front ends 322 and 324 to their relatively deeper rear ends 326 and 328. The upper edge 330 of upper rail 316 and the lower edge 332 of lower rail 318 are horizontal, while the lower edge 334 of upper rail 316 and the upper edge 336 of lower rail 318 incline towards each other. The upper rail 316 is provided with a pair of inclined, elongated flanges 338 which project outwardly from opposite sides of the rail 316 and extend parallel to the lower edge 334 from the front end 322 to a point 335 spaced from the rear end 326. Similarly, the lower rail 318 is provided with a pair of inclined, elongated flanges 340 which project outwardly from opposite sides of the rail 318 and extend parallel to the upper edge 336 from the rear end 328 to a point 337, spaced from the front end 324. A plurality of apertures 342 extend through the rails 316 and 318 between the flanges 338 and 340 and the lower edges 334 and 332 of the upper and lower rails 316 and 318. Similar apertures 344 are formed in the rearmost spacer bar 346 which joins the rear ends 326 and 328 of the upper and lower rails 316 and 318. In addition, the front end 324 of the lower rail 318 is formed with an enlarged portion 348 which is provided with an aperture 350. Finally, pairs of generally rectangular flanges 352 are provided on opposite sides of the lower rail 318 projecting horizontally from the lower edge 332 adjacent the front and rear ends 324 and 328 of the lower rail 318 and a similar pair of flanges 354 is provided projecting outwardly from opposite sides of the rearmost spacer bar 346.

The connecting members 314 are flat, elongated members 9 which may be identical or may have different transverse dimensions, as seen at 356 and 358, and are formed with end portions 360 dimensioned to frictionally mate with the apertures 342, 344 and 350 in the side members 312, but preferably extend only approximately half-way through the apertures 342, 344 and 350.

In use, the container-receiving package 310 is assembled by press-fitting the end portions 360 of the connecting member 314 into corresponding ones of the apertures 342, 344 and 350 of adjacent side members 312. At least two of the side members 312 are required to form a complete package. However, it will be obvious that additional side members 312 may be provided, as desired.

Once the package 310 is assembled, containers, such as cans 362, may be placed therein and will be supported by the facing flanges 338 and 340 of the adja cent side members 312.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore to be embraced therein.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:

1. A gravity feed storage rack for cylindrical containers comprising an assemblage of releasable frame components comprising:

at least two substantially flat one-piece vertical members comprising substantially rigid resinous material respectively disposed in vertical planes spaced a distance slightly greater than the end-to-end length of the cylindrical containers, each vertical member comprising:

a. top and bottom portions having front and back edges;

b. each top portion comprising at least one inside flange, said two flanges defining opposed rail ramps and being in a common plane, the respective inside flanges extending a short distance toward each other, an opening existing along said common plane between said top flanges comprising a distance less than the end-to-end length of the cylindrical containers; 7

0. each bottom portion comprising at least one inside flange, said two flanges defining opposed rail ramps being disposed in a common plane, each bottom flange extending a short distance toward the other, an opening existing along said common plane between said bottom flanges comprising a distance less than the end-to-end length of the cylindrical containers;

d. the common plane containing the top flanges sloping from front to back for gravity displace ment of the cylindrical containers along the top rail ramp flanges;

e. the top flanges terminating forward of the back edge of the top portions a distance greater than the diameter of the cylindrical containers to define a chute by which cylindrical containers fall from the top rail ramp flanges to the bottom rail ramp flanges;

f. the common plane containing the bottom flanges sloping from back to front from directly below the chute to adjacent the front edge of the bottom portion of the vertical members;

g. spaced generally vertically extending struts spanning between the top and bottom portions of members such that one or more cross members:

. secure the respective bottom portions of the two vertical members together and retain said bottom portions in said spaced vertical planes;

j. secure the respective top portions of the two vertical members together and retain said top portions in said spaced vertical planes;

k. define a container stop structure extending between the front edges of the bottom portions of the two vertical members;

i. define a back comprising in part the chute, the back spanning between the rear edges of the two vertical members;

said vertical member and cross member coupling sites comprising force-fit, separable male/female unions whereby the assemblage may be dismantled at the coupling sites and stacked in relatively flat relation.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4356923 *May 22, 1980Nov 2, 1982Visual Marketing, Inc.Storage and dispensing rack
US4474297 *Jan 3, 1983Oct 2, 1984Rtc Industries, Inc.Storage and dispenser rack
US4598828 *Feb 22, 1983Jul 8, 1986Visual Marketing, Inc.Storage and dispensing rack
US4685574 *Oct 16, 1985Aug 11, 1987Visual Marketing Inc.Shelf-supported expandable gravity feed system
US4785943 *Dec 9, 1986Nov 22, 1988Visual Marketing, Inc.Expandable storage and dispensing system
US6991116Jun 20, 2003Jan 31, 2006Gamon Plus, Inc.Multi-chute gravity feed dispenser display
US7207447 *Dec 13, 2004Apr 24, 2007Excell ProductsModular storage and dispensing assembly
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/59.2, 312/45, 193/27
International ClassificationA47F1/08, A47F1/00, A47B87/00, A47B87/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47B87/0207, A47B87/005, A47F1/087
European ClassificationA47B87/02B, A47B87/00D, A47F1/08H