US 3811559 A
An apparatus for unitary assembly to carry diverse picnic supplies, such apparatus being light in weight while having desirable insulative and other functional attributes. The apparatus consists of a stackable series of insulated containers which are light in weight, individually insulative, and individually adapted for specific storage or utilitarian function. Individual modular containers of the unit may include such as a charcoal grill section, cold food storage section, dry food storage and still other specifically designated compartments.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Carter 1451- May 21, 1974  Field of Search 206/4; 220/97 R, 8, 23.6 220/4 R, 4 D, 20; 126/261, 266, 9 R, 25 R; 312/237 3/1914 Hildum 126/266 1,090,056 2,517,254 8/1950 Steele 220/8 3,369,691 2/1968 Wei 220/97 R Primary Examiner-Wil1iam T. Dixson, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Dunlap, Laney, l-lessin & Dougherty  ABSTRACT An apparatus for unitary assembly to carry diverse picnic supplies, such apparatus being light in weight while having desirable insulative and other functional attributes. The apparatus consists of a stackable series of insulated containers which are light in weight, individually insulative, ,and individually adapted for spe-  References Clted cific storage or utilitarian function. Individual modular UNITED STATES PATENTS containers of the unit may include such as a charcoal 3,220,541 11/1965 Wei 126/261 grill section, cold food storage section, dry food storl,285,743 ll/l9l8 Krebs 312/237 age and other specifically designated compart- 3,327,698 6/1967 Leslie 126/9 R mems. 1% gr s/ 1 9 Wei 206/4 1,043,674 11/1912 Craig 126/266 8 Claims,'7 Drawing Figures llllllllllllllllli fi [I ll' 1. l
PATENTEDmzr 1974 3,81 1 ,559
sum 1 or 2 z iwrzz w M Z 1 PICNIC ACCESSORIES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates generally to apparatus for carriage of picnic supplies and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, it relates to' a generally modular type of stackable picnic supply carrier assembly.
2. Description of the Prior Art The prior art includes numerous types of insulated carrier assemblies which may or may not include the stackability feature. However, the teachings of the prior art have not offered a unitary carrier assembly having the complete versatility which may include modular sections having provision for charcoal grill, cold water transportation, cutting and table facility, and the like. Prior art approaches at stackable carriage assemblies have been more restrictive as to enablement of diverse functions, such restrictions generally stemming from adaptation to a particular form or technique of catering function.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates a stackable picnic carrier wherein a plurality of modular containers having specifically different carriage functions may be combined for unitary transport. In a more limited aspect, the invention consists of a plurality of modular carriage containers formed in generally the same shape from insulative construction, such carriage units being adapted as required to provide for water carriage, dry food carriage, cold food carriage, bar-b-q grill and charcoal carriage, etc. In addition, the top cover of the modular combination. is formed fromselected wood materials as a cutting board, the cutting board fitting in coactive, sealed manner with a hardwaretray to form the top cover portion of the assembled container assembly.
Therefore, it is an object of the presentinvention to provide a modular container carriage assembly which enables carriage of all picnic supplies in a single unit.
It is also an object of the invention to provide a picnic supply carriage assembly for transportof not only hot and cold food but also a complete barbecue grill and charcoal.
Finally, it is an object of the present invention to provide a complete picnic supply carriage assembly which is light in weight and rugged, but which is economical of construction.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction withthe accompanying drawings which illustrate the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a sideelevation of a modular container assembly as constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-section of the modular container assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of one form of the invention wherein the container modules are formed in rectangular shape; and
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a form of the invention wherein the modular units are formed to be of circular shape.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION FIG. 1 illustrates an assembled modular container assembly 10 consisting of stacked modular container units 12, 14 and 16. A top cover 18 is formed from suitable wooden material to also function as a cutting board, .as will be further described below, and handles 20 and 22 are formed in such a manner as to provide a standard base when cover 18 is turned over and employed as a cutting board.v When stacked, the individual container units 12, 14 and 16 may be locked together in secure relationship by such as snap fasteners 24. It should be understood that many different forms of snap fastener 24 may be employed for the securing function and, if desirable, any number of suitably located fasteners 24 may be utilized about the perimeter of the modular connections.
FIG. 2 illustrates the modular containerassembly 10 in section as the individual container units 12, 14 and 16 are employed for different functions. In this particular designation, container unit 12 serves as a barbecue grill and charcoal container, container unit 14 may provide cold food storage, and container unit 16 may be utilized for dry of hot food storage. Each of container units 12, 14 and 16 may be formed of generally similar construction. That is, they may be formed to have an outer shell 26 and an inner shell 28 formed as by molding to define an inner space of suitable thickness for containing a selected insulative material 30. The container units l2, l4 and 16 may also be formed to include the hand grip indentations 32 on opposite sides of the respective units.
The top perimeterof each of container units 12, 14 and 16 is formed to include a rectangular indentation therabout i.e., formed shoulder 34. An insulative gasket 36, e.g., a rubber or neoprene loop, is suitably bonded to extend around the surface of shoulder 34. Container unit 14 seats directly onto the gasket 36 of container unit 12 for snap fastening. However, container unit 14 may'include an insulative plate or lid 38 for seating on respective gasket 36 to receive-the bottom surface of drycontainer unit 16. Lid 38 is shown as-including handles 40 which must, of necessity, find recess space within the bottom of container unit 16 when stacked. However, improvements inmanufacturing operations may dictate provision of simple fingerholes through lid 38 thus obviating the necessity for further mold refinements in the bottom of container unit 16. A receptacle tray 42 is formedto the general internal dimensions of the container units and to include an outward flange 44 which serves to support the .tray 42 on gasket-36 prior to placement of the nex- I well-known techniques, the internal space is filled with one of the commercially available foam plastics such as catalysis expanded foam, e.g., polystyrene, polyurethane, etc. Lid 38 and tray 42 may also be formed from one of the semi-rigid plastics as aforementioned, but there is no. undue restriction as any of many different materials may be utilized. Cover 18 is formed from hard wood in the manner of conventional cutting board formation, and thereafter shaped to include inverted shoulder 44 about the perimeter thereof to afford tight fitting engagement when inserted over the top opening of container unit 16.
The container unit 12 includes a barbecue grill 48 and may also be utilized to carry whatever the necessary supply of charcoal 50. As shown in FIG. 3, grill 48 consists of a base tray 52 of generally rectangular shape having bendable, metallic support rods 54 and 56 suitably affixed as by welding or the like to opposite sides theereof. A grill surface 58 is then supported between selected ones of respective grill support members 60 and 62 as secured to each of respective supports and 56, The supports 54 and 56 may be selected from metal of suitable gauge which allows resilient bending to enableinsertionof grillsurface 58 at the desired support level relative to the grill tray 52.
In operation, the carrier assembly'l0 enables a unitary device for carrying all materials and supplies required fora picnic or camping trip, including the means to prepare hot food. The container unit 12 which includes charcoal grill 48 may also carry as many briquets of charcoal 50 as desired up to the point of capacity. The container unit 14 which is also adapted to include an insulative cover panel 38 may be utilized to carry cold drinks, food requiring refrigeration and ice. Dry food, warm food, and various other items may be included in the container unit 16, and the inserted cover tray 42 enables still additional storage which is desirable for silverware, carving knives, napkins, paper plates and-the like. The entire unit can then be placed in stacked assembly and securely fastened together for unitary transport. It should also be understood that grill 48 may take the form of a conventional form of bottled gas cooker as constructedto necessary dimensions.
FIG. 4 illustrates an alternative form of'container' unit 70' which is particularly adapted for containinga charcoal grill. The container itself is constructed as aforedescribed, including an inner lining 72 and outer lining 74 formed of relatively durable plastic and including an insulative foamed plastic 76 filling the void therebetween. A charcoal grill 78 consists of a metal receptacle v80 shaped-for mating fit down within inner lining 72 of container unit 70. Receptacle 80 is preferably formed from sheet aluminum for its heat dissipation qualities, and it further includes support tabs 82 and '84 affixed on opposite edges of the upper rim thereof. A grill surface 86 is then supported between support tabs 82 and 84.
therein which is filled with suitable insulative foamed plastic.
Container unit 92 is essentially the same as unit 70.0f FIG. 4 carrying the grill 78 and charcoal briquets 50 therein. Container unit 94 is an alternative structure which serves as a water carrier. Container unit 94 is formed with a totally enclosed volume 104 as defined by an inner lining 106 and spaced outer lining 108 containing insulative foamed plastic 110 therebetween. An upper wall 112 of container unit 94 is formed to include a fill hole 1 14 of suitable diameter to enable easy pouring of liquid therethrough for subsequent closure by a stopper 116. A sidewall 118 is formed to include an indenture portion 120 in the lower part of outer lining 108 in order to include a suitable push-button spigot 122 therein to enable controlled flow of liquid from container unit 94.
A container unit 96 may then be utilized to carry ice immediately'above the water container unit 94. In this event, it may be desirable to provide a variation in the thickness of bottom 124 of container unit 96 to allow for heat conductive advantage or cold transfer to the water container unit 94. Thus, lowering of floor 124, as shown by dashed lines 126, with provision for little or no insulation therein will provide desirable cooling in the direction of the water supply within container unit Ice container unit 96 will include the usual insulative gasket 36 to receive container unit 98 therein. Similarly, the additional container units 98, 100 and so forth are allof identical construction and as many may be utilized as is practical. In the embodiment of FIG. 5,
FIG. 5 illustrates additional features of the invention and is intended to stress the design versatility and manufacturing flexibility of the present teachings. Thus, a
carrier assembly consists of a multiple of stacked individual container units 92, 94, 96, 98 and as covered by a cutting board cover 102. Each of the con-- tainer units 92-100 is constructed in essentially the same manner as previously described. That is, an outer shell constituting inner and outer linings formed from resilient, rugged plastic and defining a void space it would probably be desirable .to store cold or refrigeration requiring products in containerunit 98, adjacent the ice within container unit 96, and container unit 100 would then be utilized for warm or dry foods and other accessories.
The individual container units 9210() are fastened together by means of a suitable strap 128, e.g., a steel strap having a carrier handle and snap fastener 132 integrally associated therewith. It is also foreseen that a more resilient strap having a lengthwise adjustment facility may be desirable for those modular assemblies wherein there may be considerable option by the user as to the number of individual carrier units to be secured. g I
As shown in FIGS. sand 7, the particular crosssectional shaping of the units is purely a matter of choice and may be either rectangular as shown in FIG. 6, circular as shown in FIG. 7, or any other desired configuration. No matter what the shape, the securing band 128 may be aligned through formed vertical grooves 134 as positioned in line vertically on opposite sides of the'respective container units.
While the particular container structure shown deal primarily with food and food preparation container units, it should also be understood that additionalmodnic outing. A device constructed in accordance with the invention is easily manufactured at low cost 'utilizing most desirable materials from the standpoint of strength, insulative properties and durability; and the structure is capable of precise and relable stacked assembly whereby easily adapted securing or fastening structure can provide a compact unit having great stability through the stresses and vibrations incurred in transport.
Changes may be made in the combination and arrangement of elements as heretofore set forth in specification and shown in the drawings; it being understood that changes may be made in the embodiments disclosed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A modular container assembly which includes a plurality of stacked container units, comprising:
a first container unit defining a continuous storage space and including a bottom and side wall terminating in a predetermined shaped opening about the top thereof, said opening being formed as an outer perimetric rim which extends into an inwardly disposed perimetric inverted shoulder, said first container unit including a cooking grill for insertion therein and disposition in close proximity to said side walls;
at least one additional container unit defining a continuous storage space and having a bottom and side walls terminating in said predetermined shaped opening about the top of said side walls said opening being formed as an outer perimetric rim which extends into an inwardly disposed perimetric inverted shoulder, and the bottom perimeter thereof being formed with a perimetric shoulder for mating engagement with a container unit inverted shoulder;
cover means shaped with a perimetric shoulder for mating engagement with an inverted shoulder for conformable closure of said predetermined shaped opening of said at least one additional container means, said cover means being formed of hard wood material for service as a cutting board; and
means for securing said container units and cover means in securely stacked assembly. 2. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein each of said container units comprise:
an outer shell formed from an inner liner and an outer liner spaced therefrom to define an internal void, said void being filled with catalysis expanded foam plastic insulative material.
3. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein said outer shell is molded from selected thermoplastic material as a continuous formation.
4. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 2 which is further characterized to include:
a container unit having a bottom, side walls and top wall including water fill hole therethrough, said side walls being formed to extend upward beyond said top wall to define said predetermined shaped opening; and
spigot means sealingly disposed through one side wall of said container unit.
5. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein:
each of said container units includes an indentation in the outer liners of opposite side walls thereof to form hand grip openings.
'6. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 1 which is further characterized to include:
tray means shaped as said predetermined shaped opening and having an outwardly flanged surface about the perimeter thereof, said tray means being disposed within said uppermost at least one additional container means to be secured therein by said cover means.
7. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 1 which is further characterized to include:
gasket means disposed about the predetermined shaped opening of said first container unit and said at least one additional container unit to provide sealing insulative closure of said stacked container units.
8. A modular container assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said cooking grill comprises:
charcoal grill assembly including a tray, oppositely disposed support members and grill surface assembly for'support by said support members.