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Publication numberUS3799384 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 26, 1974
Filing dateFeb 28, 1972
Priority dateFeb 28, 1972
Publication numberUS 3799384 A, US 3799384A, US-A-3799384, US3799384 A, US3799384A
InventorsHurkamp C
Original AssigneeHurkamp C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible shipping container
US 3799384 A
Abstract
A collapsible shipping container has the lower edge of one side wall thereof pivoted to one side of the base and has the upper edge of that side wall secured to the top by one set of rollers; and has the upper edge of the other side wall thereof pivoted to the other side of the top and has the lower edge of that other side wall secured to the base by another set of rollers. The one set of rollers permits the upper edge of the one side wall to move laterally of the top in one direction; and the other set of rollers permits the lower edge of the other side wall to move laterally of the base in the opposite direction. The oppositely-directed movements of the upper edge of the one side wall and of the lower edge of the other side wall permit the top to move downwardly toward the base as the collapsible shipping container is being collapsed.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Hurkamp 1 COLLAPSIBLE SHIPPING CONTAINER [76] Inventor: Charles H. Hurkamp, l Baynard Cove Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC. 29928' [22] Filed: Feb. 28, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 229,706

2,782,955 2/1957' Gordon 220/6 1,156,221 10/1915 Focks 217/47 2,573,089 10/1951 Armenia 220/7 1 Mar. 26, 1974 Primary ExaminerGeorge E. Lowrance Assistant Examiner-Steven M. Pollard Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Rogers, Ezell & Eilers 5 7 ABSTRACT A collapsible shipping container has the lower edge of one side wall thereof pivoted to one side of the base and has the upper edge of that side wall secured to the top by one set of rollers; and has the upper edge of the other side wall thereof pivoted to the other side of the top and has the lower edge of that other side wall secured to the base by another set of rollers. The one set of rollers permits the upper edge of the one side wall to move laterally of the top in one direction; and the other set of rollers permits the lower edge of the other side wall to move laterally of the base in the opposite direction. The oppositely-directed movements of the upper edge of the one side wall and of the lower edge of the other side wall permit the top to move downwardly toward the base as the collapsible shipping container is being collapsed.

35 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures mmmmesm 3799.384

PAIENIEU mas I974 sum 3 or 4 FIG. 9.

FIG. /0.

COLLAPSIBLE SHIPPING CONTAINER This invention relates to improvements in collapsible shipping containers. More paticularly, this invention relates to improvements in collapsible shipping containers which have stiff tops, bases and side walls.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible shipping container which has a stiff top, a stiff base and stiff side walls.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a collapsible shipping container wherein each of the side walls is essentially a unitary panel and is stiff. That collapsible shipping container is sturdier and more rugged than are collapsible shipping containers wherein each of the side walls include two or more panels that are hinged together. It is, therefore, .an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container wherein each of the side walls is essentially a unitary panel and is stiff.

Some collapsible containers have side walls that are stiff; but the upper edges of those side walls must be separated from the top of that container as that container is being moved into its collapsed position. It is difficult to move such containers between their erected and collasped positions; and hence it would be desirable toprovide a collapsible shipping container which utilizes stiff side walls but which does not require those side walls to be separtaed from the top. The present invention provides such a collapsible shipping container; and it is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible shipping container which utilizes stiff side walls but which does not require those side walls'to be separated om the top.

' A closure is provided for the front of the collapsible shipping container of the present invention; and that closure is hinged to one side wall of that container in such a way that-it can be selectively moved into'face-toface relation with the outer face of that side wall or into face-to-face relation with the inner face of that side wall. When that closure is in face-to-face relation with the outer face of that side wall, the front of the collapsible shipping container is fully open and hence filling or emptying of that container is facilitated. When that clousre is in face-to-face relation with the inner face of that side wall, that closure can be moved as a unit with that side wall as the container is being moved into its collapsed position. It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible shipping container which has a closure for the front thereof that is hinged to one side wall of that container in such a way that it can be selectively moved into face-to-face relation with the outer or the inner face of that side wall.

If it is desirable to maintain the top and the base of the collapsible shipping container in substantial register with each other during the collapsing and erection of that collapsible shipping container, straps can be pivoted to one side of the base and to one of the side walls about midway between the upper and lower edges of that side wall; and further straps can be pivoted to the opposite side of the top and to the other of the side walls about midway between the upper and lower edges of that side wall. Those straps will effectively limit any tendency of the top to shift laterally relative to the base during movement of that top toward its erected or collapsed position. It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible shipping container which has straps pivoted to one side of the base and to one of the side walls about midway between the upper and lower edges of that side wall, and which has further straps pivoted to,the opposite side of the top and to the other of the side walls about midway between the upper and lower edges of that side wall.

Shipping containers are usually made eight feet wide, but the pallets on which products are packed and shipped are usually made nine feet wide. As a result, the standard and usual shipping container is not compatible with securing systems, such as the Air Force 463L restraint system, which are intended to receive and restrain pallet-type loads. It would be desirable to provide a standard-width shipping container which was compatible with securing systems which were intended to receive and restrain pallet-type loads; and the present invention does so by providing a shipping container which has selectively extendable and retractible spacers secured to the base thereof. Those spacers will normally be in retracted position; but they will be moved to extended position whenever the shipping container is to be restrained by a securing system which is intended to receive and restrain pallet-type loads. It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a shipping container which has selectively extendable and retractible spacers secured to the base thereof.

Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention should become apparent from an examination of the drawing and accompanying description.

In the drawing and accompanying description a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown and described but it is to be understood that the drawing and accompanying description are for the purpose of illustration only and do not limit the invention and that the invention will be defined by the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING tainer of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line-3-3 in FIG. 2,

FIG. 4 is a sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 3, through the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 4-4 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 5 is a sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 3, through part of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 5-5 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 6 is a sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 3, through another portion of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 6-6 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 7 is a sectional view, on the scale of ,FIG. 3, through a further portion of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicatd by the line 7-7 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 8 is a broken sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 3, through a still further portion of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 8-8 in FIG. 2,

FIG. 9 is a broken sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 3, through yet another portion of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 9-9 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 10 is a broken sectional view, on the scale 0f FIG. 3, through an 'additinal portion of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 10-10 in FIG. 3,

FIG. 11 is an elevational view, on a scale intermediate those of FIGS. 1 and 3, of the right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container of FIG. 1 and 2, and it shows that collapsible shipping container in a position intermediate its fully-erected and fully-collapsed positions,

FIG. 12 is an elevational view on the scale of FIG. 1 1, of the right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it shows that collapsible shipping container'in its fully-collapsed position,

FIG. 13 is an elevational view that is generally similar to FIG. 2, but it is broken, it is on a scale intermediate those of FIGS. 3 and 11, and it shows the collapsible shipping container in its fully-collasped position,

FIG. 14 is a sectional view, on a scale twice that of FIG. 4, through a portion of one side of an alternate form of base for the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 14-14 in FIG. 2,

FIG. 15 is a sectional view of a portion of the lefthand wall and of a portion of the top of the collapsible shipping container, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 15-15 in FIG. 1, and

FIG. 16 is a broken, sectional view of portions of the right-hand wall and of portions of the top and base, and it is taken along the plane indicated by the line 16-16 in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF INVENTION Referring to the drawing in detail, the numeral 20 denotes the base of one preferred embodiment of collapsible shipping container that is made in accordance with the principles and teachings of the present invention; and the upper surface of that base acts as a floor on which cargo can be set. As indicated by FIGS. 2, 9, l0 and 13, that base can be made with a honeycombor eggcrate core to reduce the overall weight thereof. That base has generally-rectangular, generallyhorizontal sockets 21 therein adjacent the center of one side thereof to receive the tines of a fork-lift truck.

Similar sockets, not shown, are provided in the opposite side of the base 20.

A sturdy flange 22 extends upwardly from, and above the level of, the upper surface of the base 20 adjacent the right-hand side of that base, as that base is viewed in FIGS. 3, l1 and 12. Part of the upper surface of that flange is concave, and the rest of that upper surface defines a horizontally-extending groove 25, as shown particularly by FIG. 16. Sturdy plates 23 are located at the opposite ends of the flange 22, as indicated by FIG. 2; and the upper ends of those plates extending upwardly above the level of the upper surface of that flange. Each of those plates has an opening in the upwardlyextending portion thereof; and those openings define the axis of generation of the concave part of the upper surface of the flange 22 and of the lower surface of the groove 25. That axis of generation is denoted by the numeral 47 in FIG. 16. The groove 25 is adjacent, and opens to, the right-hand side of the flange 22.

The numeral 24 denotes a groove which is formed in the right-hand end of the base 20, as that base is viewed in FIG. 9. That groove is parallel to the upper and lower surfaces of that base; but it is spaced just a short distance below the level of that upper surface. The numeral 26 denotes a similar groove which is formed in the left-hand end of the base 20, as that base is viewed in FIG. 9. The groove 24 is generally T-shaped in cross section; and the groove 26 is a mirror image of the groove 24.

A shallow flange 45 extends upwardly from, and above the level of, the upper surface of the base 20 adjacent the left-hand side of the base, as that base is viewed in FIG. 3. A horizontally-directed groove 28 is provided in the right-hand side of the flange 45; and the open side of that groove confronts the inner face of the flange 22 at the right-hand side of that base. The groove 28 extends from one end of the base 20 to the other end of that base. The numeral 34 denotes corner fittings for the base 20; and each of the four corners of that base has a corner fitting 34 secured to it. Those corner fittings can be of standard and usual design; and they have openings in the sides and bottoms thereof to accommodate the hooks of lifting slings or to accomodate the clamps of fastening devices. Each corner of the base 20 has sockets in register with the openings in the corner fitting 34 which is secured to that comer. If desired, the base 20 could be equipped with tie-down rings, not shown of standard and usual design.

The numeral 30 denotes the top of the collapsible shipping container provided by the present invention; and that top preferably has a length and a width that are the same as the length and width of the base 20. Although the top 30 is shown as being essentially solid, it could be made with a honeycomb or eggcrate core to reduce the overall weight thereof. The edges of the top 30 depend downwardly below the lower surface of the central portion of that top, as shown by FIG. 4. Sturdy L-shaped plates 41 are locatd at the opposite ends of the left-hand side of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIGS. 3, 11 and 12. The L-shaped plate 41 in FIGS. 3, l1 and 12 is shown as being a part of a corner fitting 39 for the top 30; but that L-shaped plate could be made as a separate element which could have they upper end thereof set inside of, or bolted to the outer face of, that comer fitting. The foot of the L-shaped plate 41 has an opening therein which receives a pivot 44, as shown by FIG. 3. The foot of the L-shaped plate 41, not

shown, at the other end of the top 30 also has an opening with a pivot therein; and those pivots are coaxial. The numeral 32 denotes a horizontally-directed groove in the lower face of the left-hand downwardlydepending edge of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIG. 3. The upper surface of that groove will preferably be arcuate, and it will preferably have the axis of the pivot 44 as the axis of generation thereof. That groove opens to to the outer face of the left-hand downwardlydepending edge of the top 30, as that top isviewed in FIG. 3. The numeral 55 denotes a horizontally-directed groove in the lower face of the right-hand downwardlydepending edge of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIGS. 3 and 16. That groove opens to the interior of the top 30, as shown by FIG. 16.

The numeral 36 denotes a groove which is provided in the inner face of the downwardly-depending edge at the right-handend of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIG. 4. The open side of that groove faces inwardly of the top 30; and that groove extends from the righthand side of that top toa point of termination short of the left-hand side of that top, as that top is viewed in FIGS. 3, l1 and 12. A similar groove 38 is provided at the inner face of the downwardly-depending edge at the left-hand end of the top 30 as that top is viewed in FIG. 4. The groove 38 is a mirror image of the groove 36.

As shown by FIGS. 3, l1 and 12, the groove 24 extends from the left-hand side of the base to a point of termination short of the right-hand side of the base, whereas the groove 36 extends from the right-hand side of the top to a point of termination short of the lefthand side of that top. As shown by FIG. 3,'the horizontally-directed groove 25 is adjacent the right-hand side of the base 20, Whereas the horizontally-directed groove 55 is adajcent the right-hand side of the top. Similarly, the groove 26 extends from the left-hand side of the base 20 to a point of termination short of the right-hand side of that base, whereas the groove 38 extends from the right-hand side of the top to a point of termination short of the left-hand side of that top. The numerals 27, 29, 31 and denote generally U- shaped elements which are pivoted to the upper surface of the top 30. As shown particularly by FIG. 1, those U-shaped elements are located adjacent the right-hand and some distance to the left of, the U-shaped elements 27 and 29; and pivoted rods 43 connect the U-shaped element 40 to the u-shaped element 29, while further pivoted rods 43 connect the U-shaped element 31 to the U-shaped element 27. Those pivoted rods cause the U-shaped elements 40 and 29 to move as a unit, and also cause the U-shaped elements 31 and 27 to move as a unit. 'When the U-shaped elements 27, 29, 31 and 40 areset in the dotted-line upright positions shown by FIGS. 2 and 11, they can accommodate the tines of a fork lift truck.

In addition to the corner fitting 39, the top 30 has corner fittings 33, 3S and 37; and those four corner fittings are located at the four comers of the top 30, as

shown by FIG. 1. Those corner fittings can be of standard and usual design; and they all have openings in the sides and tops thereof to accommodate the hooks of lifting slings or to accommodate the clamps of fastening devices. Each corner of the top 30 has sockets in register with the openings in the corner fitting which is secured to that comer.

The numeral 42 denotes the left-hand side wall of the collapsible shipping container provided by the present invention, as that container is viewed in FIG. 3. Although that wall is shown as being essentially solid, it could be made with a honeycomb or eggcrate core to reduce the overall weight thereof. Plates 57 are secured to the opposite ends of the wall 42 at points which are spaced short distances below the upper edges of that wall; and those plates extend inwardly of that wall, as indicated by FIGS. 3 and 7. The inner ends of those plates have openings therein which receive the pivots 44 that are secured to the feet of the L-shaped plates 41; and hence the plates 57, the pivots 44 and the L- shaped plates 41 constitute hinges for the wall 42. Because the pivots 44 are located inwardly of the wall 42, the upper edge of that wall will not project inwardly beyond the left-hand side of the top 30 when that wall is pivoted toward, and finally into, parallel relation with that top, as shown by FIGS. 11 and 12.

A generally-triangular bracket 46 is pivotally secured to one end of the wall 42, adajcent the lower edge of that wall, by a screw 49, as shown particularly by FIG. 3. That bracket has rollers 48 mounted-thereon by antifriction bearings; and, as shown particularly by FIGS. 3 and 10, those rollers are disposed within the groove 24 in the base 20. The diameters of those rollers will be just slightly smaller than the vertical dimension of that groove; and hence those rollers will receive full support from the upper and lower surfaces of that groove but will be able to roll freely within that groove. The numeral 50 denotes a generally-triangular bracket which is similar to the bracket 48; but the bracket 50 is pivotally secured to the opposite end of the wall 42, adjacent the lower edge of that wall, by a screw 51. Rollers 52 are mounted on the bracket 50 by anti-friction bearings; and, as shwon particularly by FIG. 10, the rollers 52 are disposed within the groove 26 in the base 20. The diameters of those rollers will be just slightly smaller than the vertical dimension of that groove; and hence those rollers will receive full support from the upper and lower surfaces of the groove but will be free to roll freely within that groove.

The numeral 53 denotes a rib which is provided at the lower surface of the wall 42, as that wall is viewed in F 165.3 and 14. That rib extends along the full length of that lower edge; and it is dimensioned to fit within the groove 28 at the left-hand side of the base 20, as that base is viewed in FIG; 3 and 11. The rib 53 will extend into the groove 28 whenever the collapsible shipping container is in its fully erected position; and it will coact with that groove to stiffen the base 20 and to provide a tensile joint between that base and the wall 42. The rib 53 and the groove 28 also will coact to provide a closed joint between the wall 42 and the base 20; and, because both that rib and that groove are tapered, that joint can be watertight.

The numeral 54 denotes a strap which has the lower end thereof pivotally secured to the base 20 by a hinge 58, and which has the upper end thereof pivotally secured to the outer surface of the wall 42 by a hinge 56,

all as shown by FIG. 3. As indicated particularly by FIG. 2, the strap 54 has a length, between the axes of the hinges 56 and 58, which is approximately one-half of the height of the wall 42 and which is substantially equal to the distance between the axis of the hinge 56 and the axis of the screw 49, as shown by FIG. 11. The numerals 60 and 66 denote straps which are identical to the strap 54; and the upper end of the strap 60 is pivotally secured to the outer surface of the wall 42 by a hinge 62 while the lower end of that strap is pivotally secured to the baseby a hinge 64. Similarly, the upper end of the strap 66 is pivotally secured to the outer surface of the wall 42 by a hinge 68, while the lower end of that strap is pivotally secured to the base 20 by a hinge 70. As shown particularly by FIG. 2, the strap 54 is spaced a short distance to the left of the right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container the strap 66 is disposed a short distance to the right of the left-hand end of that container, and the strap 60 is located approximately midway between the opposite ends of that container. The axes of the hinges 56, 62 and 68 define a line which is parallel to, but is spaced well above, the upper surface of the base 20; and the axes of the hinges 58, 64 and 70 define a line which is parallel to, and immediately adjacent, that upper surface.

A rib 71 is provided on the upper edge of the wall 42, as shown by FIGS. 3 and 15; and that rib extends along the entire length of that upper edge. The upper surface of that rib will preferably be arcuate, and it will preferably have the axis of the pivot 44 as the axis of generation thereof. That rib will extend into the groove 32 whenever the collapsible shipping container is in its fully errected position; and it will coact with that groove to stiffen the top and the wall 42, and to provide a tensile joint between that top and that wall. The rib 71 and the groove 32 also will coact to provide a closed joint between the wall 42 and the top 30; and, because both that rib and that groove are tapered, that joint can be watertight.

The numeral 82 denotes the right-hand side wall of the collapsible shipping container provided by the present invention, as that container is viewed in FIG. 3. Although that wall is shown as being essentially solid, it could be made with a honeycomb or eggcrate core to reduce the overall weight thereof. Screws 84 extend through the'openings in the upwardly-extending portions of the ears 23, at the opposite ends of the flange 22 on the base 20, and into the opposite ends of the wall 82. Those screws are adjacent the lower edge of the wall 82, they lie on the axis of generation 47 shown in FIG. 16, and they enable that wall to pivot relative to the base 20.

A generally-triangular bracket 86 has a portion thereof extending downwardly into a shallow, transversely-directed slot in the upper edge of the wall 82; and that slot is close to the right-hand end of that wall, as that wall is viewed in FIG. 4. A pin 87 extends inwarldy through the right-hand end of the wall 82, through that slot, and through that portion of the bracket 86 topivotally secure that bracket to that wall. The bracket 86 has rollers 88 mounted thereon by antifriction bearings; and, as shown particularly by FIG. 4, those rollers are disposed within the groove 36 of the top 30. The diameters of those rollers will be just slightly smaller than the vertical dimension of that groove; and hence those rollers will receive full support from the upper and lower surfaces of that groove but will be able to roll freely within that groove. The numeral 92 denotes a generally-triangular bracket which is similar to the bracket 86; and a portion of that bracket extends downwardly into a shallow, transversely-directed slot in the upper edge of the wall 82; and that slot is close to the left-hand end of that wall, as that wall is viewed in FIG. 4. A pin 93 extends inwardly through the left-hand end of the wall 82, through that slot, and through that portion of the bracket 92 to pivotally secure that bracket to that wall. Rollers 94 are mountd on the bracket 92 by anti-friction bearings; and, as shown particularly by FIG. 4, those rollers are disposed within the groove 38 in the top 30. The diameters of those rollers will be just slightly smaller than the I vertical dimensions of that groove; and hence those rollers will receive full support from the upper and lower surfaces of that groove but will be free to roll freely within that groove.

The grooves 36 and 38 are formed in the inner surfaces of the downwardly-depending edges at the opposite ends of the top 30, as shown by FIG. 4. As a result, those downwardly-depending edges serve to conceal and protect the groove 38, the bracket 92 and the rollers 94 while also serving to conceal and protect the groove 36, the bracket 86 and the rollers 88. I

The numeral denotes a rib which is provided at the upper edge of the wall 82, as shown by FIGS. 3 and 16. That rib extends along the entire length of that upper edge; and it is dimensioned to fit within the groove 55 in the downwardly-depending edge at the right-hand side of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIGS. 3 an 16. The rib 90 will extend into the groove 55 whenever the collapsible shipping container is in its fully erected position; and it will coact with that groove to stiffen the top 30 and the wall 82 and to provide a tensile joint between that top and that wall. The rib 90 and the groove 55 also will coact to provide a closed joint between the wall 82 and the top 30; and, because both that rib and that groove are tapered, that joint can be water-tight.

The numeral 91 denotes a rib which is provided at the lower edge of the wall 82, and shown by FIGS. 3 and 16. That rib extends along the entire length of that lower edge; and it is dimensioned to fit within the groove 25 in the flange 22 on the base 20. The lower edge of that rib will preferably be arcuate, and it will preferably have the axis of generation 47 as the axis of generation thereof. That rib will extend into the groove 25 whenever the collapsible shipping container is in its fully erected positon; and it will coact with that groove to stiffen the wall 82 and to provide a tensile joint between that wall and the base 20. The rib 91 and the groove 25 also will coact to provide a closed joint between the wall 82 and the base 20; and, because both that rib and that groove are tapered, that joint can be water-tight.

The wall 82 is very similar to the wall 42. However, the lower edge of the wall 82 is pivotally secured to the flange 22 on the base 20 by means of the plates 23, whereas the upper edge of the wall 42 is pivotally secured to the downwardly-depending left-hand edge of the top 30 by means of the plates 57 and the L-shaped plates 41. The lower edge of the wall 42 can move laterally of the base 20 because of the brackets 46 and 50, the rollers 48 and 52, and the grooves 24 and 26, whereas the upper edge of the wall 82 can move laterally of the top because of the brackets 86 and 92, the rollers 88 and 94, and the grooves 36 and 38.

The numeral 72-denotes a strap which has the upper end thereof pivotally secured to the top 30 by a hinge 74, and which has the lower end thereof pivotally secured to the outer surface of the wall 82 by a hinge 76. As indicated particularly by FIG. 11, tje strap 72 has a length, between the axes of the hinges 74 and 76, which is approximately one-half of the height of the wall 82 and which is substantially equal to the distance between the axis of the hinge 76 and the pin 87, as shown by FIG. 11. The numerals 78 and 80 denote straps which are identical to the strap 72; and the upper ends of those'straps are secured to the top 30 by suitable hinges 79 and 81. The lower ends'of the straps 78 and 80 are suitably secured to the outer surface of the wall 82 by hinges 89 and 97. The axes of the hinges 76, 89 and 97 define a line which is parallel to, but is spaced well below, the downwardly-depending right-hand edge of the top 30; and the axes of the hinges 74, 79 and 81 define a line which is parallel to, and immediately adjacent, that edge.

As indicated particularly by FIGS. l and 2, the strap 78 is approximately midway between the ends of the collapsible shipping container, the strap 72 is spaced a short distance to the left of the right-hand end of that container, and the strap 80 is spaced a short distance to the right of the left-hand end of that container. As indicated by FIGS. 2 and 11, the straps 72, 78 and 80 depend downwardly from one side of the top 30, whereas the straps 54, and 66 extend upwardly from the opposite side of the base 20.

The numeral 96 denotes a closure which is rectangular in elevation; and that closure is disposed adjacent the left-hand end of the collapsible shipping container,

as that collapsible shipping container is viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. That closure has a width which is just slightly smaller than the distance between the walls 42 and 82,

, and it has a height which is just slightly shorter than the height of the wall 42 as shown by FIGS. 1-3. A hinge 98 of standard and usual design, which is shown as being continuous butwhich could be constituted by a number of short vertically-spaced hinges, secures one edge of the closure 96 to the left-hand endof the wall 42, as that wallis viewedinFIGS. l and 2. That hinge permits that closure to be rotated from a position wherein that closure is at right angles to the wall 42 to a position whereinthat'closure abuts the inner face of that wall; and both of those positions are indicated in FIG. 1.

A slide bolt 100 is carried by the closure 96, as indicated by FIGS. 4 and 8; and that'slide bolt is adjacent the free edge of. that closureThat slide bolt can have the outer end thereof disposed within a socket 102 in the inner surface of the wall 82 to hold the closure 96 in position wherein it closes the left-hand end of the collapsible shipping container as that container is viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. The solid lines in FIG. 8 indicate the positon of the slide bolt 100 when the outer end thereof is disposed within the socket 102; and the dotted lines in FIG. 8"indicate the positon of the slide bolt when the outer end thereof is free of that socket. Additional slide bolts, not shown. can be provided adjacent the free edge of the closure 96, and additional sockets, not shown, can be provided in the inner surface of the wall 82 to accomodate the outer ends of those additional slide bolts. Those additional slide bolts and those additional sockets will coact with slide bolt and socket 102 to releasably hold the free edge of the closure 96 in closed position. A suitable fastener, not shown, can be provided at the inner surface of the wall 42 to engage the free edge of the closure 96 whenever that closure is rotated into face-to-face engagement with that inner surface. That fastener will releasably hold that closure in that face-to-face engagement, and thus will facilitate collapsing of the collapsible shipping container.

Resilient sealing strips 101, shown in FIGS. 4, 8, 9 and 10, are disposed within grooves provided in all four edges of the closure 96. Those sealing strips are planoconvex in cross section; and the convex surfaces thereof project outwardly beyond those four edges to engage the upper surface of the base 20, the inner surfaces of the walls 42 and 82, and the lower surface of the downwardly-depending edge at the left-hand end of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIG. 4. The engagements between the convex surfaces of the sealing strips 101 and the upper surface of the base 20, the inner surfaces of the walls 42 and 82, and the lower surface of the downwardly-depending edge at the left-hand end of the top 30 will be sufficiently intimate to prevent the entry of rain, sleet snow, dust and the like but will not be so tight as to prevent movement of the closure 96 relative to the base 20, the top 30 or the walls 42 and 82.

The numeral 104 denotes a door which is rectangular in elevation; and that door is disposed adjacent the right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container, as that collapsible shipping container is viewed in FIGS/ 1 and 2. That door has a width which is just slightly smaller than the distance between the walls 42 and 82, and it has a height which is just slightly shorter than the height of the wall 42. Hinges 106 rotatably secure one edge of the door 104 to the right-hand end of the wall 42, as that wall is viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. Those hinges include flat plates which are disposed within slots 105 in the end of the wall 42 and slots 107 in the end of the door 104, and also include pins which span those slots. Those hinges permit that door to be rotated from a position wherein it abuts the outer surface of the wall 42, to and through a position wherein it is at right angles to that wall, and then to a position wherein it abuts the inner surface of that wall. The position wherein the door 104 abuts the outer surface of the wall 42 is shown by dotted lines at the left of FIG. 7, the position wherein that'door is at right angles to that wall is shown by solid lines at the top of FIG. 7, and the position wherein that door abuts the inner surface of that wall is shown by dotted lines at the right of FIG. 7. The hinges 106 permit the door 104 to rotate almost three hundred and sixty degrees from the left-hand dottedline position to the right-hand dotted-line position in FIG. 7.

As shown particularly by FIG. 7, the edge of the door which is held by the hinges 106 is generally triangular in cross section, and the adjacent end of the wall 42 has rounded edges. That generally-triangular edge coacts with those rounded edges/to permit unimpeded movement of that door between the two dotted-line positions shown in FIG. 7. Resilient sealing strips 117, shown in FIGS. 4, 6, 9 and 10, are disposed within grooves provided in the upper and lower edges and in the free edge of the door 104; and a similar resilient sealing strip, not shown, is disposed within a groove in the generallytriangular edge of that door. Those sealing strips are plano-covex in cross section; and the convex surfaces thereof project outwardly beyond the edges of the door 104 to engage the upper surface of the base 20, the inner surfaces of the walls 42 and 82, and the lower surface of the downwardly-depending edge at the righthand end of the top 30, as that top is viewed in FIG. 4. The engagements between the convex surfaces of the sealing strips 117 and the upper surface of the base 20, the inner surfaces of the walls 42 and 82, and the lower surface of the downwardly-depending edge at the righthand end of the top 30 will be sufficiently intimate to prevent the entry of rain, sleet, snow, dust and the like but will not be so tight as to prevent movement of the door 104 relative to the base 20, the top 30 or the walls 42 and 82.

Whenever the door 104 is in the solid-line position of FIG. 7, that door will close the right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container, as that container is viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. Whenever that door is in the left-hand dotted-line postion of FIG. 7, it exposes the entire right-hand end of the collapsible shipping container, and thereby facilitates ready loading and unloading of that container. Whenever that door is in the right-hand dotted-line position of FIG.. 7, it facilitates collapsing of the collapsible shipping container.

The numeral 108 denotes two locking bars which are mounted within the door 104, as indicated particularly by FIGSv 3, 5 and 6. Actually, three such locking bars will be used, and the third locking bar, not shown, will be located approximately midway between the two locking bars shown in FIG. 3. Each locking bar 108 has a handle 110 which normally is disposed within a rectangular recess lll in the outer surface of the door 104. The locking bar 108 has hook-type latches 112 at the top and bottom thereof; and those latches are disposed within recesses 113 in the upper and lower surfaces of the door 104. Locking pins 114 are mounted on the base so they extend up into the lower recesses 113 whenever the door 104 is in the solid-line positon shown by FIG. 7. Similarly, locking pins 114 are mounted on the top so they extend down into the upper recesses 113 whenever the door 104 is in the solid-line position of FIG. 7. When the door 104 is in the solid-line position of FIG. 7 and the handles 110 of the locking bars 108 are within the recesses 111, the latches 112 at the tops and bottoms of those locking bars will be in locking engagement with the locking pins 114. At such time, those locking bars will hold that door in that solid-line position. However, when the handles 110 of the locking bars 108 are rotated outwardly of the recesses 111 in the door 104, the latches 112 will move out of engagement with the locking pins 114, and thereby will not obstruct opening movement of the door.

A suitable fastener, not shown, can be provided at the inner surface of the wall 42 to engage the free edge of the door 104 whenever that door is rotated into faceto-face engagement with that inner surface. That fastener will releasably hold that door in that face-to-face engagement, and thus will facilitate collapsing of the collapsible shipping container.

Whenever the collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, with the closure 96 and the door 104 locked, that closure and that door will help keep the rib 53 on the inner edge of the wall 42 in position within the groove 28 on the base 20 for a considerable distance from either end of that base. However, to make sure that the rib 53 will remain in position within the groove 28, throughout the length of that groove, a locking pin 103 is provided, as shown by FIG. 14. That pin 103 has a wrench-receiving head, a threaded shank, and generally-conical lower end. That pin is confined and guided by an internally-threaded quide 116 which is fixedly secured to the inner face of the wall 42 about midway between the ends of that wall. When the generally-conical lower end of the pin 103 is moved down into a generally-conical socket 118 in the base, that generally-conical lower-end will coact with that generally-conical socket to force the rib 53 into, and thereafter will hold that rib within, the groove 28. In this way, the tensile joint, provided by the rib 53 and the groove 28, can be maintained through the full length of the base.

A threaded pin 109 is confined and guided by a threaded socket 115 which is located in the upper edge of the wall 82 about midway between the ends of that wall. A recess 1 19 in the inner face of the wall 82 communicates with the socket 115, as shown by FIG. 16; and it accommodates a nut 121 which encircles the shank of the pin 109. The recess 119 is long enough and wide enough to enable a wrench to engage and rotate the nut 121, and thus drive the pin 109 upwardly or downwardly. The upper end of that pin is generallyconical and it can be moved up into a generally-conical socket 123, in the bottom of the downwardlydepending edge at the right-hand end of the top 30, to force the rib on the upper edge of the wall 82 into the groove 55 in that downwardly-depending edge. The pin 109 and the socket 124 can coact with the closure 96 and the door 104 to hold the rib 90 within the groove 55 throughout the length of that groove; and thus can maintain the tensile joint, provided by that rib and groove, through the full length of the wall 82.

Whenever the collapsible shipping container is in the erected position indicated by FIGS. 2 and 3, the walls 42 and 82 will be dispoed at right angles to the planes of the base 20 and of the top 30. The rib 53 at the lower edge of the wall 42 will be disposed within the groove 28 of the base 20, and the rib 71 at the upper edge of that wall will be disposed within the groove 32 of the top 30. The rib 90 at the upper edge of the wall 82 will be disposed within the groove 55 of the top 30, and the rib 91 at the lower edge of that wall will be disposed within the groove 25 of the base 20. Those ribs and grooves will provide water-tight, tensile joints along the upper and lower edges of both of the walls 42 and 82. The closure 96 will be disposed at right angles to the walls 42 and 82, as indicated by FIGS. 8-10; and the resilient sealing strips 101 will coact, respectively, with the top 30, the base 20, and the walls 42 and 82 to provide tight joints. Also, the slide bolts will have the outer ends thereof extending into the sockets 102 to fixedly hold the closure 96 in position to close the lefthand end of the collapsible shipping container. The door 104 may be disposed at right angles to the walls 42 and 82, as indicated by FIGS. 6 and 7; and, in such event, the hook-type latches 112 at the tops and bottoms of the three locking bars 108 will be in locking engagement with the locking pins 114 therefor. At such time, the resilient sealing strips 117 adjacent the upper, lower and side edges of that door will coact, respectively, with the top 30, the base 20 and the sides 42 and 82 to provide tight joints. The closure 96 and the door 104 will, when in those positions, act as structural elements, and will help maintain the collapsible shipping container in its erected position.

To empty or fill the collapsible shipping container, the locking bars 108 will have the handles 110 thereof moved outwardly of the recessess 111 therefor in the outer surface of the door 104. Thereafter, that door will be rotated from the solid-line position to the lefthand dotted-line position of FIG. 7. In the latter position, the door 104 will completely expose the interior of the collapsible shipping container, and thus will not obstruct any movement of objects into or out of that container. After the collapsible shipping container has been loaded, the door 104 will be rotated from its lefthand dotted-line position to the solid-line position of FIG. 7, and then the three locking bars 108 will be actuated to lock that door in its container-closing positron.

The collapsible shipping container can be bodily lifted by inserting the tines of a fork lift truck in the sockets 21 in either side of the base 20. Also, that collapsible shipping container can be bodily lifted by inserting the hooks of a lifting sling within the openings in the corner fittings 33, 35, 37 and 39 on the top 30 or within the openings in the corner fittings 34 on the base 20. The top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 of the collapsible shipping container can be raised, whenever that collapsible shipping container is to be erected, by rotating the U-shaped elements 27, 29, 31 and 40 so they are at right angles to the upper surface of the top 30, and by passing the tines of a fork lift truck through each pair of U-shaped elements. If desired, the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 of the collapsible shipping container can be raised, whenever that collapsible shipping container is to be erected, by inserting the hooks oflifting slings within the openings in the corner fittings 33, 35, 37 and 39 on the top 30 of that container.

To collapse the collapsible'shipping container, the

hooks-at the ends of liftingslings can be connected to the corner fittings 33, 35, 37 and 39 on the roof 30 of that container, and then a suitable crane, boom or fixed overhead hoist can be used to develop sufficient ten-' sionwithin those lifting slings to support the weight of the top 30 and walls 42 and 82 of the collapsible shipping container. Thereupon, the locking bars 108 can be actuated to release the hook-type latches 112 at the upper and lower ends thereof from the locking pins 114 in the top 30 and base 20. The door 104 can then be rotated into the right-hand dotted-line position in FIG.

-7 so that door will be in face-to-face abutting engagement with the inner surface of the wall 42. The fastener, not shown,'at the inner surface of the wall 42 will then be actuated to hold the door 104 in that dottedline position. Immediately thereafter, the slide bolts 100 will be moved to retracted position to permit the closure 96 to be rotated into face-to-face abutting engagement with the inner surface of the wall 42; and then the other fastener at the inner surface of that wall will be actuated to hold that closure in such face-tface engagement. The locking pin 103 at the lower, in-

' 42 adjacent the lower surface of that end; and that force will tend to cause the bracket 46 to move from the position indicated by FIG. 3 toward the position shown by FIG. 12. Successively, laterally-directed inwardly-acting forces will be applied to the left-hand end of the wall 42 adjacent the lower surface of that end, to the right-hand end of the wall 82 adjacent the upper surface of that end, and to the left-hand end of the wall 82 adjacent the upper surface of that end. The laterally-directed inwardly-acting force at the left-hand end of the wall 42 will cause the bracket 50 to move toward the flange 22 on the base 20; and the laterallydirected inwardly-acting forces at the ends of the wall 82 will cause the brackets 86 and 92 to move toward the downwardly-depending edge at the opposite side of the top 30. The four laterally-directed, inwardly-acting forces will start the walls 42 and 82 moving toward the inclined positions shown by FIG. 11. As those walls move toward those positions, they will permit the top 30 to respond to gravity to move downwardly toward the base 20; and the crane, boom or fixed overhead hoist will be appropriately actuated to provide controlled downward movement of that top toward that base. That controlled downward movement will be continued until the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 move to the positions shown by FIG. 12. When the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 reach the fully-retracted positions shown by FIG. 12, the straps 54, 60 and 66 will be resting upon the upper surface of the base 20, the left-hand portion of the wall 42 will be resting upon the straps 54, 60 and 66; the closure 96 and the door 104 will be resting upon the wall 42; the wall 82 will be resting upon the closure 96 and the door 104, and the straps 72, 78 and 80 will be resting upon the wall 82. At such time, the upper surface of the top 30 will be parallel to the bottom surface of the base 20, and the height of the container will be reduced by about eightytwo percent.

If desired, a fork lift truck could be used, instead of a crane, boom or fixed overhead hoist, to support the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 during the collapsing of the collapsible shipping container. The tines of that fork lift truck would extend through and hold aligned pairs of the U-shaped elements 27 and 31 and 29 and 40 on the top 30.

. To shift the collapsible shipping container from its fully-collapsed to its fully-erected position, a crane, boom, fixed overhead hoist or a fork lift truck can be used to apply upwardly-directed forces to the top 30. As that top responds to those forces to move upwardly relative to the base 20, it will apply upwardly-directed forces to the upper edge of the wall 42 via the pins 44 and to the upper edge of the wall 82 via the brackets 86 and 92. The wall 42 will respond to the upwardlydirected force which is applied to it to cause the lower edge thereof to move from the position shown by FIG. 12 to and through the position of FIG. 11 toward the position shown by FIG. 3. Similarly, the wall 82 will respond to the upwardly-directed force which is applied to it to cause the upper edge thereof to move from the position indicated by FIG. 12 to and through the position of FIG. 11 toward the position shown by FIG. 3. As the walls 42 and 82 approach the positions shown by FIG. 3, the operator will force the rib 53, adjacent the lower edge of the wall 42, into the groove 28, and he will force the rib 90, adjacentthe upper edge of the wall 82, into the groove 55. Also, he will force the lower end of the pin 103 into the socket l 18 in FIG. 14,

and he will force the upper end of the pin 109 into the socket 123 in FIG. 16. Thereafter, he will free the closure 96 from the fastener, not shown, at the inner surface of the wall 42, and will then rotate that closure into position to close the left-hand end of the container, as that container is viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. Once the closure 96 has been moved into, and locked in, position to close the left-hand end of the collapsible shipping container, that container will be self-supporting; and the lifting forces provided by the crane, boom, fixed overhead hoist or the fork lift truck can be removed. Thereupon, the door 104 will be released from the fastener, not shown, at the inner surface of the wall 42 and will be rotated from the right-hand dotted-line position to the left-hand dotted-line position of FIG. 7. At this time, the collapsible shipping container can be appropriately filled with objects to be shipped.

The straps 54, 60 and 66 confine the horizontallydirected center line of the wall 42 to a circular path which has the hinges 58, 64 and 70 as the center thereof. Similarly, the straps 72, 78 and 80 confine the horizontally-directed center line of the wall 82 to a circular path which has the hinges 74, 79 and 81 as the center thereof. The pins 44 confine the wall 42 for rotation relative to the top 30 through a fixed path; and the pins 84 confine the wall 82 for rotation relative to the base through a fixed path. As a result, the straps 54, 60 and 66 coact with the straps 72, 78 and 80 and with the pins 44 and 84 to stabilize the collapsible shipping container as the walls 42 and 82 of that container are being shifted from the positions which they occupy when that container is in its fully-erected position to the positions which they occupy when that container is in its fully-retracted position, and vice versa. Those straps and those pins are particularly useful in preventing lateral shifting of the top 30 relative to the base 20 when the collapsible shipping container is intermediate its fully-erected and its fully-retracted positions; but they also prevent lateral shifting of that top relative to that base when the collapsible shipping container is in its fully-retracted position.

If desired, the straps 54, 60 and 66 and the straps 72, 78 and 80 could be eliminated if the device which was used to lift or lower the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 was sufficiently stable to prevent lateral shifting of that top relative to that base. If a lifting sling were to be used to lift or lower the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 of a collapsible shipping container that was not equipped with the straps 54, 60 and 66 and the straps 72, 78 and 80, the apex of that lifting sling would be centered above the lateral center-line of that top. However, if a fork lift truck were to be used to lift or lower the top 30 and the walls 42 and 82 of such a collapsible shipping container, the insertion of the tines of that fork lift truck into the aligned U-shaped elements 27 and 31 and 29 and 40 would enable that fork lift truck to prevent lateral shifting of that top relative to the base 20. When the container is in its fully-collapsed position, as shown by FIG. 12, lateral movmenet of the top 30 to the right with respect to the base 20 will be restrained by the engagement of the rollers 48 and 52 against the inner ends of the grooves 24 and 26, respectively, and the by the engagement of the rollers 88 and 94 against the inner ends of the grooves 36 and 38, respectively. Lateral movement of the top 30 to the left in FIG. 12 with respect to the base 20 will be restrained by the engagement of the normally-upper edge of the wall 42 with the inner edge of the shallow flange 45 on the base 20.

Referring particularly to FIG. 14, the numeral 124 denotes an alternate form of base for the collapsible shipping container of FIGS. 1 and 2. That base can be identical to the base 20 in all respects other than that it has recesses 126 which extend along both sides thereof. Those recesses will extend from the corner fittings 34 to the sockets 21, and then similar recesses will extend between those sockets. Spacers 129, which are as long as the recesses 126, have the lower edges thereof pivotally secured to the base 124 by hinges 130. As indicated particularly by FIG. 14, each spacer 129 is dimensioned so it can be rotated up into the recess 126. A folding connector 132 has one end thereof secured to the base 124 by a pivot 134, and has the other end thereof secured to the spacer 129 by a pivot 136. That folding connector is separated into two equal lengths by a pivot 135, as indicated by FIG. 14. Similar connectors with their hinge axes aligned horizontally, are located at intervals along the length of the base 20; and sufficient numbers of those spacers will be used to adequately support the outer edges of the spacers 129 when those spacers are in their extended positions.

Whenever a collapsible shipping container, which utilizes the base 124, is intended to be shipped in a space that is just slightly wider than that base, the spacers 129 will be set in the retracted positions indicated by solid lines in FIG. 14. However, where that collapsible shipping container is to be shipped in a space which is wider than the base 124 by a distance approximately equal to twice the height of the spacer 129, the

two spacers 129 will be rotated outwardly to the dotted-line position of FIG. 14. At such time, those spacers will abut appropriate structures in the conveyance in which the container is being shipped; and hence that container can be held solidly in position by appropriate restraint of the outer edges of the spacers 129 although that container is substantially narrower than the distances between those structures.

Each of the spacers 129, of the alternate form of base 124, will preferably have a height of 6 inches. Where that is the case, the movement of those spacers to the extended positions indicated by dotted lines in FIG. 14 will enable the collapsible shipping to have a width that is compatible with the Air Force 463-L retention system which is installed in C5, C and C141 cargo aircraft.

The collapsible shipping container of the present invention can be made in different sizes. However, that container will preferably be made so it is eight feet wide, eight feet high and sixteen to twenty feet long. Such a collapsible shipping container can be collapsed into a space which is eight feet wide and sixteen to twenty feet long but is only sixteen and eight-tenths inches high. When the collapsible shipping container of the present invention is made with those dimensions, a total of six such containers can be stacked one above the other within the space limitations specified by the Department of Defense for air and surface transportation; and a total of five such containers can be stacked one above the other within the space limitations specified by industrial specifications for maritime shipping.

When five of the collapsible shipping containers are in their collapsed conditions and are stacked one above the other for maritime shipment, standard three-inch interlocks,.inserted between the corner fittings thereof, will be used to interrelate those containers so they will remain in stacked array and so they will have a total height equal to that of one fully-erected container.

The collapsible shipping container of the present invention can be made so it is both simple and rugged; because it essentially has only six relatively movable parts: the base 20, the top 30, the wall 42, the wall 82, the closure 96, and the door 104. Those six parts can be made of high strength aluminum alloys, using sheet metal reinforcement techniques, and hence the collapsible shipping container can be sturdy while being light in weight. The overall result is that the collapsible shipping container provided by the present invention can have a tare weight to cargo volume ratio of 2:1; and thus will be very usable in transporting cargo by air.

By using a crane and hoisting sling, one man is able to erect or to collapse the collapsible shipping conable to erect that collapsible shipping container, or to collapse that container, in five minutes or less.

The base 20 has a flat bottom; and hence that base makes it possible for the collapsible shipping container to slide along roller-type conveyors or across the rollertype floors of conveyances. As a result, that collapsible shipping container can easily be shifted into and out of position within warehouses and conveyances.

The rib 53 at the lower edge, and the rib 71 at the upper edge, of the wall 42 will, whenever they are disposed within the groove 28 of the base 20 and the groove 32 of the top 30,re'spectively, act as mechanical connections between that wall and that base and top. Those mechanical connections will extend along the full length of that wall, that base and that top; and thus will enable that wall to keep the adjacent sides of that base and that top from bending appreciably when the collapsible shipping container is fully loaded and is suspended in air or is not resting solidly on a flat surface. Similarly, the rib 90 at the upper edge and the rib 91 at the lower edge of the wall 82, will, whenever they are disposed within the groove 55 of the top and the groove 25 of the flange 22, respectively, act as mechanical connections between that wall and that top and base. Those mechanical connections will extend along the full length of that wall, that top and that base; and thus will enable that wall to keep the adjacent sides of that top and that base from bending appreciably. As a result, the collapsible shipping container can be very strong and sturdy even through it is made so it is light in weight and fully'collapsible.

Not only do the grooves 28 and 55 coact with the ribs 53 and 90 to provide mechanical connections between the walls, the base and'the top, but those grooves act as positive stops to outward movement of the upper and lower edges of those walls. As a result, an operator of the collapsible shipping container can not, through inadvertence or otherwisepcause excessive outward movement of the lower edge of the wall 42 or of the upper edge of the wall 82. Moreover, .the upper and tainer of the present invention. Moreover, he should be the form of the invention without affecting the scope thereof.

What I claim is:

1. A collapsible shipping container which comprises a base, a top, a first side wall, a second side wall, means pivotally securing the upper edge of said first side wall to said top adjacent one side edge of said top, antifriction elements attached to the lower edge of said first sidewall, guides on said base that receive and guide said anti-friction elements and that permit said lower edge of said first side wall to move from one side edge of said base to the opposite side edge of said base and vice versa, said lower edge of said first side wall being adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said container is in its erected position but being adjacent said opposite side edge of said base whenever said container is in its collapsed position, second means pivotally securing the lower edge of said second side wall to said opposite side edge of said base, further antifriction elements attached to the upper edge of said second side wall, and further guides on said top that receive and guide said further anti-friction elements and that permit said upper edge of said second side wall to move from the opposite side edge of said top to said one side edge of said top and vice versa, said upper edge of said second side wall being adjacent said opposite side edge of said top whenever said container is in its erected position but being adjacent said one side edge of said top whenever said container is in its collapsed position, the first said means and said further anti-friction elements and said further guides continuously maintaining said first side wall and said second side wall in assembled relation with said top while permitting tilting movement of said side walls relative to said top, said second means and the first said antifriction elements and the first said guides continuously maintaining said second side wall and said first side wall in assembled relation with said base while permitting tilting movement of said side walls relative to said base.

2. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first side wall has a height shorter than the width of said top, and wherein said second side wall has a height shorter than the width of said base, whereby said side walls can be tilted into generallyhorizontal positions within a space defined by the side edges of said top and of said base.

3. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said opposite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level of the central surface of said base, wherein said second means is secured to said flange and thus above the level of said central surface of said base, and wherein the first said means is disposed below the level of the central surface of said top.

4. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said opposite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level ofthe central surface of said base, wherein the said second means is secured to said flange, and wherein the height of said flange is greater than the thickness of said first side wall, whereby said first side wall can be tilted into position and stored between said base and said second side wall.

5. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first said means is disposed below the levelof the central surface of said top a distance greater than the thickness of said second side wall, whereby said second side wall can be tilted into position and stored between said top and said first side wall.

6. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said opposite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level of the central surface of said base, wherein said second means is secured to said flange, wherein the height of said flange is greater than the thickness of said first side wall, whereby said first side wall can be tilted into position and stored between said base and said second side wall, and wherein the first said means is disposed below the level of the central surface of said top a distance greater than the thickness of said second side wall, whereby said second side wall can be tilted into position and stored between said top and said first side wall.

7. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first said anti-friction elements are rollers, wherein the first said guides are grooves in said base, wherein said further anti-friction elements are rollers, and wherein said further guides are grooves in said top.

8. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein a closure for one end of said collapsible shipping container is pivoted to one end of one of said side walls to enable said closure to be rotated into face-to-face relation with said one side wall, wherein a closure for the other end of said collapsible shipping container is pivoted to the other end of said one side wall to enable said closure to be rotated into face-toface relation with said one side wall, and wherein each of said closures has a width less than one-half the length of said collapsible shipping container, whereby both of said closures can be rotated inwardly of said collapsible shipping container and into face-to-face relation with said one side wall.

9. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein a closure for one end of said collapsible shipping container is pivoted to one end of one of said side walls to enable said enclosure to be rotated from a position at right angles to said one side wall to a position where it is in face-to-face relation with said one side wall, wherein a closure for the other end of said collapsible shipping container is pivoted to the other end of said one side wall to enable said closure to be rotated from a position where it is in face-to-face relation with the outer face of said one side wall to a position where it is in face-to face relation with the inner face of said one side wall and wherein each of said closures has a width just slightly less than the width of said base.

10. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein interfitting surfaces at said lower edge of said first side wall and at said one side edge of said base help said base stiffen said one side wall and vice versa, and wherein further interfltting surfaces at said upper edge of said second side wall and at said opposite side edge of said top help said top stiffen said secon side wall and vice versa.

11. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein straps are pivotally secured to said one side edge of said base and are pivotally secured to the outer face of said one side wall approximately midway between said upper edge and said lower edge of said one side wall, wherein further straps are pivotally secured to said opposite side edge of said top and are pivotally secured to the outer face of said second side wall approximately midway between said upper edge and said lower edge of said second side wall, and wherein the first said straps and said further straps coact with said one side wall and with said second side wall to limit lateral shifting of said top relative to said base.

12. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said opposite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level of the central surface of said base, and wherein said flange extends along and is substantially coextensive with said opposite side edge of said base to stiffen and strengthen said base.

13. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said opposite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level of the central surface of said base, wherein said second means includes pins adjacent the opposite ends of said flange and adjacent the opposite ends of said second side wall that pivotally secure the lower edges of said opposite ends of said second side wall to said opposite ends of said flange, and wherein said first said means includes pins adjacent the opposite ends of said top and adjacent the opposite ends of said first side wall that pivotally secure the upper edges of the opposite ends of said first side wall to said opposite ends of said top.

14. A collapsible shipping container which comprises a base, a top, a first side wall, a second side wall, means pivotally securing the upper edge of said first side wall to said top adjacent one side edge of said top, the lower edge of said first side wall being adjacent one side edge of said base whenever said container is in its erected position but being adjacent the opposite edge of said base whenever said container is in its collapsed position, second means pivotally securing the lower edge of said second side wall to said opposite side edge of said base, the upper edge of said second side wall being adjacent the opposite side edge of said top whenever said container is in its erected position but being adjacent said one side edge of said top whenever said container is in its collapsed position, straps pivotally secured to said one side edge of said base and pivotally secured to the outer face of said one side wall approximately midway between said upper edge and said lower edge of said one side wall, and further straps pivotally secured to said opposite side edge of said top and pivotally secured to the outer face of said second side wall approximately midway between said upper edge and said lower edge of said second side wall, and the first said straps and said further straps coacting with said one side wall and with said second side wall to limit lateral shifting of said top relative to said base.

15. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 14 wherein said one side wall is rotatable into a position where it is generally horizontal and is disposed between said top and said base, wherein the first said straps respond to such rotation of said one side wall to move into position between said base and said one side wall, wherein said second side wall is rotatable into a position where it is generally horizontal and is disposed between said top and said base, and wherein said further straps respond to such rotation of said second side wall to move into position between said top and said second side wall.

16. A collapsible shipping container which comprises a base, a top, a first side wall, a second side wall, means pivotally securing the upper edge of said first side wall to said top adjacent one side edge of said top, interacting surfaces on said base and on the lower edge of said first side wall which continuously maintain said lower edge of said first side wall in engagement with said base while permitting said lower edge of said first side wall to move from one side edge of said base to the opposite side edge of said base and vice versa, second means pivotally securing the lower edge of said second side wall to said opposite side edge of said base, and further interacting surfaces on said top and on the upper edge of said second side wall which continuously maintain said upper edge of said second side wall in engagement with said top while permitting said upper edge of said second side wall to move from the opposite side edge of said top to said one side edge of said top and vice versa.

'17. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein members can receive lifting forces and can respond to said lifting forcesto raise said top, and wherein the-raisingof said top, whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its collapsed position, automatically tends to move said first side wall and said second side wall toward their erected positions.

18. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein an abutment on said lower edge of saidfirst sidewall engages a complementary abutment adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein a second abutment on said upper edge of said second side wall engages a second complementary abutment adjacent said opposite side edge of said top whenever said collapsible shippingcontainer is in its erected position, wherein-the engagement between the first said abutment and the first said complementary abutment is a sealing engagement, and wherein the engagement between said second abutment and said second complementary abutment is a sealing engagement.

19. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein an abutment on said lower edge of said first side wall engages a complementary abutment adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein a second abutment on said upper edge of said second side wall. engages a second complementary abutment adjacent said opposite side edge of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position,wherein the engagement between the first said abutment and the first said complementary abutment keeps said loweredge of said first side wall from rotating outwardly beyond said one side edge of said base, and wherein the engagement between said second abutment and said second complementary abutment keeps said. upper edge of said second side wall from rotating outwardly beyond said opposite side edge of said top.

20. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein an abutment on said lower edge of said first side wall engages a complementary abutment adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein a second abutment on said, upper edge of said second side wall engages a second complementary abutment adjacent said opposite side edge of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein the engagement between the first said abutment and the first said complementary abutment is an interlocking engagement which provides a tensile joint between said first side wall and said base, and wherein the engagement between said second abutment and said second complementary abutment is an interlocking engagement which provides a tensile joint between said second wall and said top.

21. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein a rib on said lower edge of said first side wall will engage a complementary groove adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein a second rib on said upper edge of said second side wall will engage a second complementary groove adjacent said opposite side of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position.

22. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base has a flange adjacent said op posite side edge thereof which projects upwardly above the level of the central surface of said base, wherein a closure is pivotally secured to said first side wall and is rotatable into face-to-face relation with said first side wall, wherein said flange spaces said second means above said level of said central surface of said base a distance greater than the sum of the thicknesses of said first side wall and said closure, whereby said first side wall can be tilted into position and stored between said central surface of said base and said second side wall while said closure is in face-to-face relation with said first side wall.

23. A collapsible container as claimed in claim 14 wherein pivots secure said lower edge of said first side wall to members that can move from said one side edge of said base to said opposite edge of said base and vice versa, wherein the lengths of said first said straps are substantially equal to the distances between said pivots and a line defined by the upper ends of said first said straps, wherein further pivots secure said upper edge of said second side wall to further members that can move from said opposite side edge of said top to said one side edge of said top and vice versa, and wherein the lengths of said further straps are substantially equal to the distances between said further pivots and a line defined by the lower ends of said further straps.

24. A collapsible container as claimed in claim 14 wherein said top has force-receiving elements thereon which can receive upwardly-directed forces that can facilitate movement of said lower edge of said first side wall from said opposite edge of said base to said one side edge of said base and that can facilitate movement of said upper edge of said second side wall from said one side edge of said top to said opposite side edge of said top.

25. A collapsible container as claimed in claim 14 wherein said top has force-receiving elements thereon which can receive upwardly-directed forces, wherein said force-receiving elements are relatively movable between extended and retracted positions, and wherein said force-receiving elements are dimensioned to receive the tines of a fork lift truck whenever they are in their extended positions.

26. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein said base has raised portions at said one side edge and at said opposite side edge thereof,

and wherein said raised portions can act as stops to prevent sideways shifting of one of said side walls when said collapsible shipping container is in its collapsed position.

27. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein closures are provided at the opposite ends of said collapsible shipping container, and wherein said closures help hold the ends of said lower edge of said first side wall adjacent said one side edge of said base and help hold the ends of said upper edge of said second side wall adjacent said opposite side of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position.

28. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein closures are provided at the opposite ends of said collapsible shipping container, wherein said closures help hold the ends of said lower edge of said first side wall adjacent said one side edge of said base and help hold the ends of said upper edges of said second side wall adjacent said opposite side of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, wherein a releasable holding means is provided intermediate said ends of said collapsible shipping'container and adjacent said lower edge of said first side wall to help hold the intermediate portions of said lower edge of said first side wall adjacent said one side edge of said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position, and wherein a second releasable holding means is provided intermediate said ends of said collapsible shipping container and adjacent said upper edge of said second side wall to help hold the intermediate portions of said upper edge of said second side wall adjacent said opposite side of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its erected position.

29. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein the first said means includes aligned pivots which are disposed below the level of said top and below the level of said upper edge of said first side wall and which are disposed inwardly of the inner surface of said first side wall, whereby said upper edge of said first side wall will not project outwardly beyond said one side of said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its collapsed position.

30. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein said base is unitary and is not foldable, wherein said top is unitary and is not foldable, wherein said first side wall is unitary and is not foldable, wherein said second side wall is unitary and is not foldable, wherein a closure is provided for one end of said collapsible shipping container and is unitary and is not foldable, and wherein a second closure is provided for the opposite end of said collapsible shipping container and is unitary and is not foldable.

31. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein said first side wall is unitary and is not foldable, wherein a closure is provided for one end of said collapsible shipping container and is unitary and is not foldable, wherein a second closure is provided for the opposite end of said collapsible shipping container and is unitary and is not foldable, and wherein said closures are rotatable into face-to-face relation with the inner face of said first side wall and then said first side wall is tiltable toward said base so the outer face of said first side wall confronts and approaches said base.

32. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 16 wherein a closure is provided for one end of said collapsible shipping container, wherein said closure is hinged to one end of one of said side walls, wherein said closure is rotatable into and out of faceto-face relation with the inner face of said one side wall, and wherein said closure also is rotatable into and out of face-to-face relation with the outer face of said one side wall.

33. A collapsible shipping container as claimed in claim 14 wherein said first said straps limit sideways movement of said first side wall relative to said base whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its collapsed position, and wherein said further straps limit sideways movement of said second side wall relative to said top whenever said collapsible shipping container is in its collapsed position.

34. A shipping container which has a base of predetermined width, a spacer which is hingedly secured to one side of said base and which is movable between a substantially horizontal'extended position and a substantially vertical retracted position, said spacer being in said substantially vertical retracted position whenever said container is to be disposed within a space that has a width just slightly greater than said predetermined width, said spacer being in said substantially horizontal extended position whenever said container is to be disposed within a space that has a width appreciably greater than said predetermined width and when the positioning of said spacer in said substantially horizontal extended position will dispose the free edge of said spacer closely adjacent to a nearby object, and means to selectively hold said spacer in said substantially horizontal extended position, said free edge of said spacer having means thereon engageable with a restraint system of a conveyance when said spacer is in said substantially horizontal extended position to resist shifting of said shipping container relative to said conveyance.

35. A shipping container as claimed in claim 34 wherein said base has a recess therein, and wherein said spacer is disposed within said recess when said spacer is in said substantially vertical retracted position.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/6, 220/1.5
International ClassificationB65D88/52, B65D6/18, B65D88/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D88/522
European ClassificationB65D88/52A