US 3805964 A
A storage and gravity feed dispensing system for cylindrical objects such as beverage containers. The system comprises a bin constructed of rod shapes to provide circulation and to provide for snap-fit assembly into a refrigerated space, or the like, below a shelf. Rigid container support tracks cooperate to provide a front bin wall and ingress and egress openings defining the wall as well as extending rearwardly and upwardly to provide the rear wall thereof. Upward extensions of the front and rear wall cooperate with fore and aft hangers on an interference-fit basis whereby the resiliency of the rod shapes provides a separably permanent support attachment for the bin.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unlted States Patent [191 1111 3,805,964 Titus, Jr. Apr. 23, 1974 STORAGE AND DISPENSING BIN Primary Examiner-Casmir A. Nunberg  Inventor: Armour H. Titus, Jr., Galesburg, lll. g g f g h or Firm-Hm Sherman Merom  Assignee: Admiral Corporation, Chicago, Ill.
 Filed: Sept. 20, 1972  ABSTRACT  Appl. No.: 290,461 A storage and gravity feed dispensing system for cylindrical objects such as beverage containers. The system comprises a bin constructed of rod shapes to provide g zg s circulation and to provide for snap-fit assembly into a  Field "515 42 211/49 D refrigerated space, or the like, below a shelf. Rigid 57 1 i 153 container support tracks cooperate to provide a front bin wall and ingress and egress openings defining the wall as well as extending rearwardly and upwardly to  References cued provide the rear wall thereof. Upward extensions of UNITED STATES PATENTS the front and rear wall cooperate with fore and aft 2,149,821 3/1939 Sutherland 211/119 X hangers on an interference-fit basis whereby the resil- 2,125,000 7/1938 Considine 211/49 D iency of the rod hapes provides a separably perma- 213331 211 a] g nent support attachment for the bin.
10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 23 mm (1805; 964
SHEET 2 BF 2 STORAGE AND DISPENSING BIN BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to storage systems such as used, for example, in domestic refrigerators. In recent times beverages have increasingly become packed in cylindrical cans of a standard size. Storage of such cans requires a substantial amount of space in a typical refrigerator, and, further, the storage is somewhat inconvenient when the front-to-rear dimension of the storage space is relatively great and the cans are stored in the lower regions of the refrigerator. Typical storage shelves of the present commercial refrigerators are adjustable in vertical spacing but adjustment to a spacing slightly larger than can length makes removal of cans stored in the rear of the refrigerator very awkward. Adjustment to provide substantial clearance provides for relatively easy access but is wasteful of space since storage of foodstuffs or the like on top of the stored cans is generally unsatisfactory. To my knowledge, simple and efficient storage of cylindrical objects such as cans has not been available in a truly simple suspended bin structure which may easily be removed for cleansing, or to permit use of the space for other than can storage.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The storage system of the present invention comprises a bin configuration arranged for suspension from a conventional shelf or from a special hanger. The bin provides for storage of cylindrical cans or the like on their sides in a manner substantially reducing any wasted space above the stored can and in a manner providing that cans first introduced into the refrigerated system are the first removed, and are always removed from the front wall of the bin nearest the user. The system incorporates a storage bin constructed of rods. In accordance with the invention, the rods are bent to simultaneously provide support for the cans, to define the storage opening for insertion and removal of the cans, to provide the desired rear wall configuration for the can storage, and to provide resilient deflectability for insertion and removal of the bin from the main storage box in which it is positioned for use. In the preferred embodiment, the rods employed for supporting the cans also simultaneously provide substantial transverse stiffness to the bin and in such function provide not only a supporting function but also an assembly rigidifying use.
Structurally, the system of the present invention includes a bin having side walls formed of rods secured by welding, brazing, or the like, to transverse crossbracing elements which act to space the side walls fixedly. In the case of a typical l2-ouncebgveragecan,
having a length dimension of approximately 4 3/4 inches, the side wall spacing is preferably approximately inches. A first pair of track members constructed of rod material are secured to one of the above mentioned transverse members in a sloped position extending downwardly toward the rear of the bin. These first track members terminate a distance from the rear wall of the bin somewhat larger than the diameter of the cylindrical can being stored. For example, in conventional practice, a l2-ounce beverage can is typically approximately /8 inches in diameter, so that the termination of the first track members is approximately 2 3/4 inches from the rear wall. A second track member is provided and is secured to a second transverse member, and extends from the front of the bin rearwardly to a position defining the rear wall of the bin and upwardly therefrom to a point of attachment to the storage space for supporting the bin therein. The front ends of both the first and the second track members are upwardly deflected to provide abutments preventing the ingress or egress of stored cans without manual manipulation thereover. In the preferred embodiment, the second track member extends upwardly at the rear a dimension substantially defining the height of the bin and the two track members comprising the second track member assembly are joined both at the front and the rear to provide rigidifying effect for the bin as a whole. By suspending the bin from beneath a shelf, or the like, maximum storage space efficiency is provided, first-in first-out inventory is accomplished and a can is always immediately available at the front of the storage space.
It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to provide a simple, open-work storage system for the dispensing of cylindrical objects.
A further object of the invention is to provide a substantially universally usable storage bin and dispenser providing a maximum air circulation therethrough and assuring a maximum efficiency of space use in a refrigerator or the like.
Still other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a refrigerator, or the like, incorporating the storage system of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view, somewhat enlarged, of a storage bin constructed in accordance with the present invention, showing substantially the same arrangement of parts as viewed in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side-elevational view of the bin shown in FIG. 2, including its mode of attachment to a refrigerator shelf or the like;
FIG. 4 is an end-elevational view of the bin shown in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a partial side-elevational view illustrating a modified form of attachment support.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS As may be seen from a consideration of FIG. 1, a typical refrigerator 10 is provided with a plurality of shelves 11 which are adjustably secured within the storage cavity 12. A can storage and dispensing bin generally indicated at 13 is suspended from one of the shelves, as shown, in a manner providing for insertion of cans at 14 and removal of cans at 15. As illustrated, the cans, upon insertion at 14, roll, by force of gravity, down first track members 16 onto second track members l7 and thence to the withdrawal point 15. As a result of the suspension arrangement illustrated in FIG. 1, storage space is available below the bin 13 without in any wax interfering with the operation thereof, and, further, air is readily permitted to circulate throughout the bin, around the stored cans.
As may be more clearly seen from the enlarged views of FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the bin generally indicated at 13, comprises side walls 20, 21, joined by transverse members 22, 23 and 24, which are integrally formed therewith or rigidly secured thereto by way of welding, brazing, or other conventional process. Additional side wallrods 26, 27, 28 and 29 may be provided, if desired, to prevent misalignment of the stored cans, or their removal laterally from the bin. A first track member generally indicated at 16 comprises fore and aft portions 16a, 16b, which project toward each other from the side walls 20, 21 by way of deflected portions 16c, 16d, which are secured to the side walls 21, 20, respectively. The fore and aft portions 16a, 16b each are deformed upwardly at, respectively, 16e, 16f, and are connected together by abutment bar 16g. The fore and aft portions 16a, 16d angle downwardly toward the rear so that a can, such as illustrated at 18, will, when inserted over the bar 16g onto the fore and aft track portions 16a, 16d, roll backwardly by gravity, until it rolls over the portions 16c, 16d, and drops downwardly onto the second track members generally indicated at 17. Track members 17 comprise fore and aft portions 17a 17b, which as in the case of a first track member 16, turn upwardly at 172, 17fand are joined by bar 17g. The members 17a, 17d are rigidly secured to and supported by the tie-bar 23, as shown, and extend rearwardly for support by tie-bar or spacer 22. They are then deformed upwardly as at 17c, 17d and, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. .2, 3 and 4, are rigidly connected by integral cross-bar 17h. The cross-bar 17h is supported by members 30, 31 rigidly secured to the shelf 11 or, if preferred, to the rear wall 32 of the refrigerated space. The front of the bin 13 may be supported by a Z-shaped support portion 33 having forwardly extending portions 34, 35 for acceptance by a female loop or socket formed by transverse bar 36 supported by vertical members 37, 38 which are in turn supported by the shelf 11. Positive retention of the shelf may be assured, if desired, by providing welded-on abutments 330. These abutments prevent inadvertent shelf disengagement when loaded. 7
The bin of the present invention may readily be inserted or removed from the hangers 30, 31, and 36. Typically, this is most readily accomplished by lifting the bin upwardly at the rear to initially place the crossbar 1711 over the supports 30, 31, then urging the bin rearwardly until the bar 33 can pass upwardly behind, and then over the support 36 when abutments 33a are used, a snap fit is not essential to shelf retention. Snap fit is advantageous in either case, and is provided by having the fore and aft distance between bars 33 and 17h greater than the distance between bar 36 and the inboard ends 30a, 31a. of hangers 30, 31. Sidewise or lateral displacement of the bin is prevented by cooperation of the upright portions 17c, 17d with the supports 30, 31 and the portions 34, 35 with the side portions 37, 38.
In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-4, the hanger 30, 31 and 36 are built into a special shelf structure. However, the bin of the present invention may, if desire, be used with a typical conventional shelf comprising transverse front and rear support members 50, 51, respectively, which support laterally spaced fore and aft support bars 52. In such an installation the upright portions 17d, 170 are extended upwardly and bent backwardly as at 17k, then toward each other as at 171,
thence forwardly and downwardly as at 17m, surrounding the fore and aft support bars 52. The same treatment is provided in the front support bar 33b so that the bin snaps over the supports 50, 51 and is maintained against lateral displacement by its intimate association with one of the fore and aft supports 52. In this manner, a can storage device can be provided in substantially any refrigerator, even though special hangers have not been provided.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications may be made in the structure described above without departing from the novel concepts of my invention. It is, accordingly, my intent that the scope of the invention be limited solely by that of the hereinafter appended claims.
I claim as my invention:
1. In combination in a gravity feed storage system for cylindrical objects, a pair of support elements fixedly positioned in spaced fore and aft relation, a separable self-contained bin, vertically extending members on said bin cooperating with said support elements and axially movable to removably position the bin on said elements, said bin comprising a pair of side members and front and rear walls at least one of said walls having interference means therein for limiting axial movement of the walls from the support elements and maintaining the bin on said supports, first cylinder-supporting track members projecting toward each other from said side members and each extending fore to aft at a slight downward angle from the horizontal to a rear point removed from the rear wall a distance slightly greater than the diameter of said objects, and second track members extending aft to fore from a point on on said rear wall beneath said rear point to the front wall, said front wall having-vertically spaced openings larger than said cylindrical object to permit insertion of objects onto said first tracks and their removal from the second track, the effective lower edge of said openings being above said track members to prevent displacements of an object through either opening without manual manipulation over such edge.
2. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said second track members extend forwardly at a slight downward angle from the horizontal.
3. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said walls are constructed of self-supporting wire resiliently deflectable to provide a snap-in fit-on said support elements.
4. The structure of claim 1 wherein said supports are carried by a generally horizontal shelf support.
5. The structure of claim 1 wherein said second track members extend upwardly at the rear of the bin to form said rear wall and cooperate with said aft support element to support said bin.
6. The structure of claim 5 wherein the second track members are integrally connected to each other at the rear upper ends to form a horizontal bar simultaneously supporting and providing rigid spacing between the tracks.
7. The structure of claim 1 wherein said track members comprise rods and wherein each of said track members extends upwardly at the forward end and the first and second track members are respectively there horizontally joined to form respectively said lower edges.
8. The structure of claim 1 wherein said fore and aft support means comprise elements accessible horizonthrough said bin.
10. The structure of claim 1 wherein the distance between one of said first and second track members and the side wall opposite thereto is less than the length of the cylindrical objects.