US 3813027 A
A carton of unitary construction is provided which is adapted to accommodate a plurality of fragile articles such as eggs or the like. The carton includes a tray section with a plurality of cells formed therein. The cells are of like configuration and are arranged in at least two parallel rows. The rows are separated from one another by a plurality of aligned, longitudinally spaced, upwardly extending hollow posts. Each cell has a substantially frusto-conical wall surface interrupted by a pair of annularly spaced segments which are inwardly offset towards the vertical axis of the cell. Each segment has a broad curved surface which is engaged by the accommodated article. The segment surfaces cooperate with a portion of the remainder of the substantially frusto-conical wall surface to provide at least three-point contact with the accommodated article. Each cell is also provided with a raised base portion having a concave central area which is adapted to be engaged by the lower end portion of the accommodated article. The raised base portion is substantially delimited by a depending rib.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Eatent [19.1
Misdom, Jr. et a1.
[ CARTON CONSTRUCTION  inventors: Theodore H1. Misdom, Jr., Lansing,
111.; James W. Boyd, Crown Point, Ind.
 Assignee: Packaging Corporation of America,
 Filed: Oct. 26, 1972  Appl. No.: 300,916
 US. Cl 229/45, 229/2.5, 229/44  Int. Cl B65d 43/10  Field of Search....- 229/29 M, 2.5, 44, 45
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,138,314 6/1964 Reifers et al. 229/29 M X 3,531,039 9/1970 Bessett et al 229/2.5 3,593,910 7/1971 Bessett et a1 229/44 R Primary ExaminerWilliam 1. Price Assistant ExaminerStephen Marcus 1 1 May28, 1974 [5 7 ABSTRACT A carton of unitary construction is provided which is adapted to accommodate a plurality of fragile articles such as eggs or the like. The carton includes a tray section with a plurality of cells formed therein. The cells are of like configuration and are arranged in at least two parallel rows. The rows are separated from one another by a plurality of aligned, longitudinally spaced, upwardly extending hollow posts. Each cell has a substantially frusto-conical wall surface interrupted by a pair of annularly spaced segments which are inwardly offset towards the vertical axis of the cell. Each segment has a broad curved surface which is engaged bythe accommodated article. The segment surfaces cooperate with a portion of the remainder of the substantially frusto-conical wall surface to provide at least three-point contact with the accommodated article. Each cell is also provided with a raised base portion having a concave central area which is adapted to be engaged by the lower end portion of the accommodated article. The raised base portion is substantially delimited by a' depending rib.
9 Claims,=8 Drawing Figures WWW 28 m4 SHEET 2 BF 3 nae PATENTEDHAY 28 1914 sum 3 er 3 V s I i QMQ Imam I;
mm @M CARTON CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Various cartons for packaging fragile articles such as eggs, have heretofore been provided, however, because of certain structural characteristics they are beset with one or more of the following shortcomings: a) the cell structures of the carton are not capable of accommodating articles which vary over a wide range of sizes and shapes; b) the articles accommodated within adjacent cells are susceptible to contacting one another during loading of the carton, or when the latter is subjected to normal handling, thereby resulting in an inordinate amount of checking or breaking of the articles; c) the loaded carton is possessed of inferior top-tobottom strength characteristics; and d) the carton pro vides ineffective cushioning for the accommodated article and does not retain each article in a proper upright position.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Thus, it is an object of the invention to provide a carton which is not beset with the aforenoted shortcomings of prior carton structures.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a carton which is of unitary construction and may be readily formed of paper pulp or various plastic materials.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a carton which is inexpensive and may be readily produced bypulp molding, thermoforming'and/or injection molding techniques.
Further and additional objects will appear from the description, accompanying drawings and appended claims.
In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a carton for fragile articles is provided which includes a tray section having a plurality of cells formed therein and arranged in at least a pair of elongated substantially parallel rows. The rows of cells are separated by a row of longitudinally spaced upright hollow posts. Each cell is provided with a substantially frustoconcave interior wall surface which is interrupted by a pair of annularly spaced segments which are offset inwardly toward the vertical axis of the cell. The segments have broad curved concave interior surfaces which cooperate with a portion of the remainder of the frusto-concave interior surface, so as to provide at least three-point contact with the accommodated article; and, thus, effectively retain the latter in a proper upright stable position. Each cell is further provided with a raised base portion having a concaved center area for engaging the lower end portion of the accommodated article. The center area is substantially delimited by a depending rib means.
DESCRIPTION cles in phantom lines.
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional viewtaken along line 44 of FIG. 3, and showing the accommodated articles in phantom lines.
FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the carton of FIG. 1, and showing the cover section in a closed position.
FIG. 6 is an end elevational view of the carton of FIG. 5, and showing a second carton stacked thereabove.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of the top of the carton of FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is the bottom view of the exterior of a cell of the carton of FIG. 7.
Referring now to the drawings, one form of the improved carton 10 is shown which is adapted to accommodate a dozen eggs E. While the invention is to be hereinafter described in relation to an egg carton, it is to be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited thereto. The carton I0 is of unitary construction, and may be formed by pulp or injection molding, or by thermoforming in a manner well known in the art. The illustrated embodiment comprises a cellular tray section 11, a cover section 12 hingedly connected to the back sideof the tray section, and a lock- I ing flap l3 hingedly connected to the front side of the tray section.
The tray section 11 is provided with a plurality of egg cells 14 which are arranged to form two parallel rows I and II of six cells each. Separating the rows are a plurality of aligned, longitudinally spaced upwardly extending hollow posts 15. The adjacent posts are interconnected by a first partition 16. The adjacent cells of a row I or II are separated from one another by a second partition 17. The first and second partitions radiate outwardly from each post 15. The top surface configuration of each partition 16 or 17 is substantially V- shape.
Each cell is preferably of like configuration, and includes a substantially frusto-concave interior wall surface 18 interrupted by a pair of annularly spaced segments 20 and 21, each of. which is offset towards the vertical axis of the cell. Each segmenthas a broad eoncave interior surface which curves upwardly and outwardly from a base portion 22 of the cell. The base portion'has a thin raised concave center area 22a which is adapted to yieldably engage the lower end of an egg E when the latter is accommodated in the cell. The thickness of the center area 22a is preferably less than thickness of the cell walls. The concave center area 22a of the base portion is partially delimited by depending rib means 23 of solid material, see FIGS. 3 and 8. The rib means 23 comprises a large section 230 and a small section 23b. The extent to which the rib sections depend is greater than the concavity of the center area 22a, and therefore, the underside of the center area will be spaced above a supporting surface S, see FIG. 3. The exterior surface of each rib section conforms substantially to the exterior of the frustoconcave wall.
The broad curved surface of each offset segment forms a wall'of the adjacent post 15 or end post 15a. Thus, when an egg is accommodated within a cell, the broad surfaces of the segments cooperate with a portion of theremaining frustoconcave surface to form at least a three-point contact with the egg; thus, maintaining the egg in a proper upright stable position as seen in FIGS. 3 and 4.
The upper edge of the traysection 11 is delimited by an outwardly projecting peripheral flange 24; It will be noted in FIGS. 3 and 4 that the flange 24 is disposed within a horizontal plane located beneath the upper and lower end limits of the posts 15. The flange 24 functions as a supporting ledge for the cover section 12, when the latter is in a closed registered position with respect to the tray section, see FIGS. 5 and 6.
The first and second partitions l6 and 17 of each cell has the top surface thereof elevated relative to the base portion 22 of the cell to such an extent that clicking or checking of the eggs in adjoining cells during loading of the carton or normal handling thereof is substantially avoided.
The cover section 12 may take various form; however, in the illustrated embodiment it is provided with a substantially planar top 25, which is delimited by depending front wall 26, back wall 27, and end walls 28.
The lower edges of the depending walls form an outwardly projecting flange 30, which is adapted to supportingly engage the flange 24 of the tray section.
At approximately midlength of the top planar surface 25, there is provided a depending post 31 which abuts the upper end limit of one of the posts when the cover section assumes its closed position, as seen in FIGS. 3 and 4. The end walls 28 of the cover section are provided with recesses 32, the lower end limits of resiliently engage the depending front wall 26 of the cover section 12. Adjacent the lateral end limits of the flap 13 are formed inwardly extending locking ledges 13a. Each ledge 13a is in substantial registration with a land portion 24a of the peripheral flange 24 which is disposed intennediate the endmost cells of the front row I of cells. Each locking ledge 13a is adapted to automatically interlock with an inwardly extending projection 33 formed on the interior surface of the front wall 26 of the cover section. An aperture 34 is formed in the front wall 26 above each projection 33 and enables a portion 13b of the locking flap to be exposed therein, see FIG. 5. To unlock the projection 33 from the locking ledge 13a, the flap portion 13b is manually depressed. Because of the relative disposition of the locking ledges 13a and the adjacent cells of row I, the lateral end limits of the flap 13 can be manually moved inwardly without adversely affecting the eggs accommodated in said cells. The movement or flexure of the flap end limits is controlled about a diagonally extending flexure line 35 formed adjacent each end of the flap.
To maintain the locking flap in its upright locking position with respect to the inwardly extending projection 33, a plurality of laterally spaced abutments 36, 37, 38, 40 and 41 are formed in the flap. Each abutment extends inwardly and is adapted to engage one of the land portions 24a which are disposed between the cells com prising row I and are substantially coplanar with the upper ledge 24. To provide added stacking strength to' the flap, a pair of laterally spaced reenforcing ribs 42 are formed in the flap. In the illustrated embodiment, the ribs 42 are aligned with abutments 37 and 40. It is desirable for the ribs 42 to be disposed near the inner end limits of the locking ledges 13a. Besides providing reenforcement for the locking flap l3, ribs 42 also serve as denesting means and thus, prevent the locking flaps from becoming jammed together when a plurality of cartons, in their fully opened condition, are nested together to form a bundle of cartons. It is customary for bundles of cartons to be shipped to commercial egg plants for loading. The number of abutments and the relative location of the ribs 42 on the locking flap, as well as the number of cells comprising the tray section, may vary from that shown without departing from the scope of the invention.
Thus, it will be seen that a carton for fragile articles has been provided which is of unitary construction, is capable of accommodating in a protective manner a plurality of eggs or the like, and is possessed of superior top-to-bottom strength.
1. A receptacle for accommodating a plurality of fragile articles, comprising a cellular tray section having a plurality of cells arranged in substantially parallel rows, one row being adjacent the front of the tray section and a second row being adjacent the rear of the tray section, adjacent rows of cells being separated by a plurality of longitudinally spaced hollow upwardly extending posts, each post being transversely aligned with the space between adjacent cells of a row; each cell of the front and rear rows including a substantially frustoconcave interior wall surface subtended by a base portion having a central area engageable by an accommodated article, and rib means in substantial delimiting relation with said central area, said rib means having an exterior portion depending from said central area; said frusto-concave interior wall surface including a pair of annularly spaced segments offset inwardly towards the vertical central axis of the cell, each offset segment being provided with a broad curved concave surface extending upwardly and outwardly from the central area of said base portion for cooperating with the surface of the other segment and a portion of the remaining frustoconcave interior wall surface to provide at least three-point contact with the accommodated article, the broad curved concave surface of at least one offset segment of each cell of the front and rear rows forming a wall of an adjacent hollow post.
2. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein the central area of the base portion of each cell of the front and rear rows is yieldably engageable by an accomodated article, said central area being of lesser thickness'than the frusto-concave wall surface of said cell, said central area being of concave configuration and elevated relative to the lower end limits of the exterior depending portions of said rib means.
3. The receptacle of claim 1 including a cover section adapted to assume a closed overlying relation with said tray section, said tray and cover sections being of unitary construction and the depending portions of said rib means includes a large curved section and a small curved section annularly spaced therefrom.
4. The receptacle of claim 3 wherein said cover section is provided with a top panel having a depending post formed therein and in abutting engagement with an upwardly extending post formed in said tray section when said cover and tray sections are in closed relation.
5. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein the offset segments of the cells comprising the front row of cells are spaced inwardly from the front of the tray section; and the offset segments of the cells comprising the rear row of cells are spaced inwardly from the rear of said tray section.
6. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein'adjacent cells of the front and rear rows are separated by a substantially V-shape first partition, and corresponding cells of adjacent rows are separated by a substantially V-shape second partition; said first partitions being disposed substantially transversely of the front of said tray section, and said second partitions are in substantial longitudinal alignment and disposed transversely of said first posts.
8. The receptacle of claim 3 wherein said cover section is hingedly connected to the rear of said tray section.
9. The receptacle of claim 8 wherein said tray section is provided with alocking flap hingedly connected to the front thereof, said locking flap when in locking position being disposed upright and behind a wall of the cover section when the latter is in a fully closed position with respect to the tray section; said locking flap being provided with a plurality of abutments which are adapted to engage portions of the tray section disposed intermediate the cells of the front row, and an elongated reenforcing rib angularly disposed relative to the hinge axis of said flap and intermediate an abutment and the upper edge of said flap, said reenforcing rib extending inwardly between a pair of cells when said flap is in locking position.