US 3804239 A
A plurality of nestable or stackable trays each including a separate foam pad forming the upper and lower surfaces of the bottom wall of the tray. Jewelry or other articles are placed in a plurality of such trays and the trays are then stacked one on top of the other, so that each article is firmly held, for storage and/or for transportation, between the upper foam pad of the lower tray and the lower foam pad of the upper tray. The articles are easily displayed by simply removing the tray above the tray containing the articles to be displayed.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 OBrien METHOD AND ARTICLE FOR STORING,
TRANSPORTING, AND DISPLAYING ARTICLES " Us. Cl. ...;.'..'.'206 503, 53/26, 206/523,
206/75f2117/26Q5, 2 20/9 F, 224/48R  Int. Cl... B65d 21/00, B65d 81/02, B65d 85/62  Field of Search 206/65 R, 65 K, 46 FC,
206/72, 75; 229/14 C; 217/265, 25.5, 35; 53/26; 224/48 R; 220/97 C, 9 F; 248/350, 22
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,254,755 1/1918 Wilson 217/265 1,345,949 7/1920 Myers 220/97 C 3,229,814 1/1966 Cowman 206/65 R 2,893,163 7/1959 Hazel, Jr 248/350 3,017,023 1/1962 Peterman et al 217/35 [451 Apr. 16, 1974 Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Schovee & Boston [5 7] ABSTRACT A plurality of nestable or stackable trays each including a separate foam pad forming the upper and lower surfaces of the bottom wall of the tray. Jewelry or other articles are placed in a plurality of such trays and the trays are then stacked one on top of the other, so that each article is firmly held, for storage and/or for transportation, between the upper foam pad of the lower tray and the lower foam pad of the upper tray. The articles are easily displayed by simply removing the tray above the tray containing the articles to be displayed.
METHOD AND ARTICLE FOR STORING, TRANSPORTING, AND DISPLAYING ARTICLES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to trays for articles and in a preferred application thereof to a plurality of nestable trays for use in storing, transporting, and displaying articles of jewelry.
2. Description of the Prior Art Prior to this invention one type of tray or container was often used for storage and transportation and a separate type for display purposes. Previous containers had a bottom wall and a top wall and various layers of foam for padding the articles.
It is an object of this invention to provide a single tray useful for storage, transportation, and also for display, wherein the articles are automatically properly encompassed in foam and the trays are automatically provided with a lid, by simply stacking the trays up one on top of the other. It is another object of this invention to display articles from different trays without having to separately pick out the right box from the stack, open it up, and uncover or unpad the individual articles, and to then reverse this procedure to return the articles back to the box and the stack, but rather to accomplish the same result by the one motion of simply picking up the tray above the desired tray.
, SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A polyurethane foam pad is glued to the upper (or inside) surface of the bottom wall of a tray and another polyurethane foam pad is glued to the lower (or outside) surface of the bottom wall of the tray. A plurality of such trays are stacked or nested, one on top of (and partly inside of) the other, and any articles in a particular tray are then firmly held between the upper foam pad of said particular tray and the lower foam pad of the tray immediately above said particular tray. Articles can be easily stored and transported in the stacked trays and the articles in a certain tray can be conveniently displayed by simply lifting the tray immediately above said certain tray (along with all the other trays above such tray).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following detailed description thereof, when read in conjunction with the attached drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements, and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a partly broken away end view of one tray according to the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is a partly broken away side view of a stack of the trays of FIG. I showing articles held by such trays.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference now to the drawing, FIG. 1 shows a tray including a sidewall 12' and a bottom wall 14. The bottom wall has a padded upper surface 16 and a padded lower surface 18. The tray 10 is preferably constructed of a one-piece plastic member 20 that includes the sidewall 12 and a bottom element 22 integral with the sidewall 12. In addition to the member 20, the tray 10 includes an upper layer 24 of polyurethane foam glued to an upper surface 26 of the bottom element 22 and a lower layer 28 of polyurethane foam glued to a lower surface 30 of the bottom element 22. The sidewall 12 preferably is not vertical (perpendicular to the bottom wall 14) but slopes outward very slightly; this aids in making the trays 10 easily nestable. The sidewalls 12 are relatively thin and flexible so that the outward slope is not essential.
In the preferred application, articles 32 of jewelry are placed in the trays l0 and the trays 10 are then stacked or nested one on top of the other as shown in FIG. 2, such that the articles 32 of jewelry are firmly held between two adjacent layers of polyurethane foam, each layer being a part of a different tray 10.
The articles 32 are thus easily and conveniently held firmly between layers of cushioning for storage and/or transportation and also for display. For example,if it were desired to display the article 34 placed in a tray 36, it would only be necessary to manually lift tray 38 off of tray 36 (all of the trays 10 above the tray 38 would also be lifted off along with tray 38), and the article 34 would be immediately displayed. The separate, prior art tasks of finding the correct tray, removing it from a stack of trays, removing its lid, and removing any padding, are all accomplished according to the present invention in a single step. Further, each article is automatically firmly surrounded and held by two layers of foam by virtue of the weight of the trays above the article; in a box with its own lid this feature is not always guaranteed because the lid may come to its closed position before the upper layer of foam contacts the article.
The present invention is not limited to the specific preferred construction described above. For example, the pads need not be polyurethane foam and in fact need not even be resilient, but are preferably soft. A hard pad or surface can be used depending on the use and type of article to be held and the pad or surface can be contoured to the shape of the articles to be stored so that each layer will cooperate withthe adjacent layer to at least partly encompass, surround, or hold the articles. A separate, solid, continuous bottom element 22 is not essential; the bottom wall 14 can be just one layer of foam connected to the sidewall 12, for example, or the single foam layer can include a partial bottom element 22 therein as reinforcement. The tray need not have sidewalls. The foam layers or pads can be of any desired thickness depending on use and can form or cover the entire surface of the bottom wall or any desired portion(s) thereof. The foam layers or pads can be separate and loose but are preferably bonded to a bottom element and form an integral, connected part of the tray. The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to the preferred embodiment thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinabove and as defined in the appended claims.
artisls a gxi s 1. a tray including:
a. a bottom wall and a side wall;
b. said bottom wall comprising a bottom element integral with said side wall, an upper resilient layer secured to an upper surface of said bottom element, and a lower resilient layer secured to a lower surface of said bottom element;
c. said upper and lower resilient layers each having a flat surface; and
d. said sidewall slopes outwardly such that a plurality of said trays are nestable one on top of the other with a lower resilient layer of an upper tray in contact with an upper resilient layer of the immediately adjacent lower tray.
2. The article according to claim 1 wherein said upper resilient layer is separate from said lower resilient layer.
3. The article according to claim 1 wherein said tray includes a one-piece plastic member including said bottom element and said sidewall, and wherein said layers are polyurethane foam bonded to said bottom element and covering substantially the entire surface thereof.
4. The article according to claim 3 wherein said foam layers are each about one-fourth inch thick.
5. The article according to claim 4 wherein said sidewall is flexible.
6. The article according to claim 2 wherein said tray is a first tray and including a plurality of additional trays substantially identical to said first tray and stacked up one on top of the other.
7. The article according to claim 6 including at least one article placed on at least one of said trays and held between adjacent foam layers. I
8. The article according to claim 7 wherein said tray includes a one-piece plastic member including said bottom element and a sidewall integral therewith, and wherein said layers are polyurethane foam bonded to said bottom element and covering substantially the entire surface thereof.
9. The article to claim 8 wherein said foam layers are each about one-fourth inch thick.
10. A method of storing and displaying articles comprising: v
a. placing articles to be stored and displayed in a plurality of substantially identical nestable trays each having a bottom wall and outwardly sloping sidewalls, and with the bottom wall having upper and lower resilient layers with flat surfaces; and
b. stacking up said trays one on top of the other, with a lower resilient layer of one tray in contact with an upper resilient layer of the immediately adjacent lower tray, whereby said articles are held between a pair of adjacent ones of said surfaces of different trays.
11. The method according to claim 10 includingvdisplaying an article in one tray by lifting off of said one tray, the tray immediately above said one tray, whereby all trays above said one tray are removed displaying said article.
12. The method according to claim 11 wherein said articles are jewelry.