|Publication number||US3852912 A|
|Publication date||Dec 10, 1974|
|Filing date||Sep 1, 1972|
|Priority date||Sep 1, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3852912 A, US 3852912A, US-A-3852912, US3852912 A, US3852912A|
|Original Assignee||Diller K|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (24), Referenced by (27), Classifications (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
[ Dec. 10, 1974 SHIPPING AND CARRYING CONTAINER FOR POTS  Inventor: Kenneth Diller, PO. Box 320,
 Filed: Sept. 1, 1972  Appl. No.: 285,879
 US. Cl. 47/34.11, 206/46 PL, 224/46 T, 47/39, 206/65 K  Int. Cl A01g 9/02  Field of Search 47/34, 34.11, 34.12, 34.13, 47/39, 1.2; 206/46 PL, 65 R, 65 C, 65 K;
224/45 R, 45 AB, 45 AC, 45 G, 46 T, 46 R,
48 R, 48 F, 48 C; 211/74, 76
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 396,784 1/1889 Vaughan 47/34.l3
603,649 5/1898 Leedy 47/34.1l X
1,858,856 5/1932 Hadley 1 206/65 C 1,904,072 4/1933 Nelson et a1 47/34.13 X 1,983,806 12/1934 Norman 47/39 X 1,989,403 1/1935 Dauernheim 47/39 2,238,818 4/1941 Mulford et a1 47/34.ll 2,302,045 11/1942 Neumann et a1. 47/34.13 X 2,525,633 10/1950 Arnett 224/45 AB 2,655,283 10/1953 Moldt 47/34.l X 3,005,584 10/1961 Coe 206/72 X 3,078,020 2/1963 Boonstra 47/39 X 3,107,204 10/1963 Brown et a1. .1 206/72 3,184,071 5/1965 Delaire 211/74 3,375,607 4/1968 Melvold 47/34.l3 X 3,398,827 8/1968 Laskin 206/65 R 3,643,812 2/1972 Mander et a1 206/65 R 3,660,934 5/1972 Pollack 47/34.l3 X 3,690,453 9/1972 Dorall..... 206/65 C X 3,711,145 l/l973 Rapata .t 206/65 C X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,351,218 12/1963 France 211/74 1,413,806 11/1964 France 206/46 PL 1,000,377 ll/l949 France 47/34 535,074 2/1955 Belgium 206/65 C Primary ExaminerR0bert E. Bagwill Assistant ExaminerE. 1-1. Eickholt Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Dawson, Tilton, Fallon & Lungmus [5 7 ABSTRACT An assembly for use in shipping or carrying potted plants includes a plurality of rigid pots, a flat having a bottom and four upright side walls which are preferably slightly outwardly inclined and provided with an upper peripheral lip, and a flat flexible spacer plate apertured to snugly receive a plurality of the pots and arranged so that the pots engage all four side walls of the flat to thereby fix the spacer plate relative to the flat. The pots held in the spacer plate may be so spaced as to provide supports for additional pots which extend only partially through the spacer plate and are provided with circumferential shoulders for support. The combination forms a rigid structure which will not twist, sag or bend under normal handling conditions.
3 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures SHIPPING AND CARRYING CONTAINER FOR POTS BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY The present invention relates to a shipping container for potted plants. Normally, plants such as geraniums which are grown commerically, are grown in pots of standard size (typically having a diameter of about 4 and /2 in.). They are grown on a wholesale scale prior to their being shipped for retail sale. The amount of space allotted each individual plant during growing is greater than that which is allotted each plant during shippingthat is, it is desirable to move the plants into more compact relation to conserve space for shipping. It is also desirable to be able to handle a number of the potted plants during shipping.
Heretofore, when a number of potted plants have been placed into a conventional fiat formed from thin plastic sheet material and provided with bottom ribs, the flat has sagged in the middle under the weight of the plants, thereby creating an unstable carrier and one which, in addition to sagging, had a tendency to twist at diagonally opposite corners. Further, the pots themselves were unstable, having a tendency to fall over in the flat as its bottom sagged and also having a tendency to be knocked over during transportation or carrying.
Hence, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide an assembly which facilitates the carrying of a plurality of potted plants, and one which remains rigid during handling and transporting. The invention provides for a flat spacer plate, a plurality of rigid pots having slightly tapered side walls, and a conventional plastic flat. The spacer plate is dimensioned to extend beyond the side walls of the fiat so that when it is placed over the flat, it will rest on the upper edges of the side walls. The spacer plate is also provided with a plurality of apertures formed to snugly receive the pots. The apertures in the spacer plate are also arranged so that the pots engage all four side walls of the flat. Thus, the spacer plate and the pots are fixed relative to the flat, and the entire assembly forms a rigid carrier for the pots. It has been found that the combination will not twist, sag or bend under normal handling and transporting conditions, even though the pots are fully loaded with a growing medium.
In a preferred embodiment, there are three rows of apertures with the center row being offset relative to the other two rows, and the apertures are closely spaced to each other so that at least some of the pots in the center row are supported by pots in adjacent rows and do not even touch the bottom of the flat. Thus, a dozen or so potted plants may be shipped in a relatively compact space and in a rigid assembly that will insure against tipping of any of the plants during handling and transportation.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment accompanied by the attached drawing wherein identical reference numerals will refer to like parts in the various views.
THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a shipping container for pots constructed according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary plan view showing the pots held in the apertured spacer plate;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the spacer plate;
F IG. 4 is a vertical cross sectional view of the portion of the assembly showing an empty side pot received in the spacer plate; and
FIG. 5 is a vertical transverse cross sectional view taken through the sight line 55 of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring first to FIG. 1, there are three principal elements to the assembly which comprises a shipping and carrying container for potted plants. The first element is a conventional flat generally designated by reference numeral 10. A flat spacer plate 11 is supported by the upper edge of the side walls of the flat l0, and it is apertured to receive the third elementnamely, the pots themselves, each of which are generally designated by reference numeral 12. The pots 12 are identical, and they may be of conventional configuration, also, such as is shown in FIGS.,4 and 5. As seen there, each of the pots 12 include a generally flat bottom 13, an upright side wall 14 which is slightly tapered so as to form an increasing circumference toward the top of the pot, an upper peripheral shoulder 15, and an upper side wall portion 16 of expanded diameter.
The pot 12 may be made of any suitable plastic or other fairly rigid material so as to resist deflection or deformation under normal use conditions. A typical size for the pot 12 if it is used, for example, to grow geraniums, is the so-called 4 V2 inch pot, which indicates that the diameter taken at the uppermost edge of the expanded upper wall portion 16 is approximately 4 inch. Such pots are typically apertured at the bottom to provide drainage, and they may or may not contain supporting feet extending from the bottom 13 so as to lift the bottom slightly above any flat surface that the pot may be placed on to permit drainage.
As best seen in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, the flat 10 includes a ribbed bottom 18, first and second. relatively long upright side walls 19 and 20, and first and second end walls 21 and 22. The walls 19-22 are inclined slightly outwardly and at an angle approximately equal to the taper of the side wall 14 of the pots 12. Thus, the pots, when they are placed against the side walls of the flat, will engage those side walls along a line. At the upper edge of the side walls of the flat, there is formed a generally horizontal lip 23, the outer edge of which is provided with a down-turned flange 24.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the spacer plate 11 includes a plurality of apertures 25 for receiving the pots 12 in snug engagement.
Referring to FIG. 3, the embodiment shown therein is designed to carry 12 individual potted plants, and the 12 apertures 25 are arranged into three separate rows of four, designated respectively R1, R2 and R3. It will be observed that the center row R2 is offset somewhat so as to conserve space.
The overall dimensions of the apertured spacer plate 11 are slightly larger than the corresponding dimensions of the peripheral lip 23 of the flat 10 so that when the spacer plate is placed over the flat 10, it will rest on the lip 23, as seen in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5. The diameter of the apertures 25 are designed so that when the pots 12 are inserted, they are snugly received, as illustrated in FIG. 4. Further, the spacing of the apertures 25 in rows R1 and R3 is such that the pots, when placed in their associated apertures, will engage the two longer side walls 19, 20, of the flat, and that two lower apertures 25 (as seen in FIG. 3) will not only engage the side walls 19, 20, but will also engage the common end wall 21. The uppermost aperture 25 in row R2 is placed such that when it receives a pot 12, the pot will engage the side wall 22 of the flat 10. Thus, the pots 12 will engage all four side walls of the flat. The function of this is to stabilize and fix the apertured spacer plate 11 relative to the flat 10. Obviously, some of the pots could be removed in the intermediate positions in the rows R1 and R3 as well as in the lower positions in the row R2 to achieve the same effect. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pots received in the three right-hand apertures in row R2 are supported on the upper edges of adjacent pots by means of their shoulders '15. The apertures in which they are received are correspondingly reduced so as to again snugly engage the outer surface of these pots for their insertion depth.
In operation, potted plants are preferably first inserted in the lower two corner apertures (as viewed in FIG. 3) of the rows R1 and R3 as well as in at least one other aperture in each of these rows. A fifth pot, when placed in the upper aperture in row R2 will stablize the entire assembly. Additional pots may be filled in as needed.
The spacer plate 11 is preferably formed from polystyrene plastic, and it may be stamped from a sheet of such material having a thickness of 0.040 inch. The thickness could be varied while continuing to practice the invention, although, as a general rule, I prefer to use thinner, rather than thicker sheets of plastic.
I have found that the above-described combination forms a rigid carrying or transporting container for potted plants, as distinguished from the prior practice of merely loading the plants into a container. Such an arrangement buckled the center of the flat, caused it to sag, and resulted in tilting and falling of the pots and spilling of some of the contents thereof.
I have found, that best operation is achieved if the apertures 25 snugly engage the entire periphery of a pot for the depth to which that pot is inserted. Surprisingly,
I have found that the combination when thus arranged exhibits a true rigidity which otherwise is not found simply with a flat and pots because the weight of the pots causes the center of the flat to sag, and it is difficult to transport the flat.
It appears to me that one of the most important fac. tors in the successful operation of the present invention is the fact that the pots engage all four inner surfaces of the upright side walls of the flat. This tends to stabilize the pots and spacer plates relative to the flat. Secondly, by having the pots snugly engaged in the apertures of the spacer plate, the location of the pots is fixed, and this in cooperation with the side wall engagement mentioned above, fixes all three elements relative to each other. Thus, a more uniform loading distribution is achieved, and this aids in a more stabilized combination.
Finally, it has been hypothesized, although I do not intend to so limit the invention, that part of the weight of the pots may be borne by the spacer plate and, due
to the close proximity of some of the pots to the upright side walls of the flat, this weight is transmitted to those walls. Any load which is thus transmitted to the lip 23 would confine that lip to being located in a horizontal plane which would tend to achieve a more rigid struc ture and one which resists buckling.
At any rate, the redistribution of the loading and the stressing of the sides appear to have significant advantage in achieving the desired results. As mentioned, this is accomplished by maintaining contact with the bottom of the flat or tray while, at the same time, arranging the apertures to snugly receive their associated pots while simultaneously engaging all four upright sides of the flat.
Having thus described in detail the preferred embodiment of my invention, persons skilled in the art will be able to modify certain of the structure which has been illustrated and to substitute equivalent elements for those disclosed while continuing to practice the principle of the invention; and it is, therefore, intended that all such modifications and substitutions be covered as they are embraced within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
I. In a shipping and carrying container for potted plants made of sheet plastic having a thickness of about 0.040 inch or less, the combination comprising: a plurality of rigid pots, such having a sidewall of inverted frusto-conical shape; a flat having a bottom and only four generally flat, upright peripheral sidewalls, each terminating in an upper peripheral edge and being slightly outwardly inclined from the vertical, all of said upper edges lying in a common plane; and a spacer plate comprising a flat sheet of plastic defining a plurality of apertures for slidably receiving said pots, each aperture being sized to snugly engage a pot received therein, said apertures being further sized and arranged such that pots received therein engage all four sidewalls of the flat and a plurality of pots engage and partially rest on the bottom of said flat while maintaining snug peripheral engagement with the edge of their associated spacer apertures to thereby fix the spacer plate and the pots relative to said flat, said spacer plate being dimensioned to extend beyond and rest on the upper peripheral edges of said sidewalls of said flat and to partially transmit the weight of pots received therein to said sidewalls of said flat when said flat is distorted to maintain said upper edges of said sidewall of said flat in said common plane; the inclination of said sidewalls of said flat being approximately the same as the inclination of the sidewall portions of said pots which engage them to provide an extended upright engagement location between the outer surface of said pot sidewall portions and the inner surface of said sidewalls of said flat.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein each of said pots is generally circular in horizontal cross section and the side walls thereof are tapered so that the circumference increases proceeding from the bottom thereof to the top.
3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said apertures in said spacer plate are arranged in three rows including two outer rows arranged such that when pots are placed in apertures in said outer rows, said pots will engage opposing upright side walls of said flat, and an intermediate row offset relative to said outer rows, said intermediate row of apertures including an end aperture extending beyond the end apertures of the outer rows and adapted to receive a pot in engagement with an upright end wall of said flat.
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|U.S. Classification||47/84, 206/488, 428/23, 206/499, 47/39, 206/423|