US 3861556 A
A plastic tote box for student use includes an enclosed box provided with a lid which extends to include the front wall of the box and a portion of the top wall where the lid is hinged. A pair of side horizontal grooves extend rearwardly of the hinge for receiving support slides so that the box may be stored in a bottomless desk or the like with the lid closed. In use, the box may be partially removed and the lid opened to gain access to the box while it is still supported on the slides. Alternatively, the box may be fully removed from the desk, turned on its back, and used as a carrying case. The lid includes a hand recess, and it is adapted so that the hand of a person carrying the box by its handle, holds the lid in a closed position.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Barecki et a1.
[ Jan. 21, 1975 [5 TOTE Box  Inventors: Chester ,1. Barecki, Grand Rapids;
Donald Waleson, Wyoming, both of Mich.
 Assignee: American Seating Company, Grand Rapids, Mich.
[221 Filed: Mar. 8, 19.72
 Appl. No.; 232,715
521 U.S.Cl ..206/2l6,190/57,l50/l.6; 206/371, 224/45 N, 312/244 [511 1111. C1 A45c 13/26, A45cl3/28 58 Field ofSearch 206/l7.l,lR, 16R;
190/48, 57; ISO/1.6; 220/31 S, 94 A; 312/255, 222, 223, 194, 330; 224/45 N 11/1965 Protheroe 224/45 N 3,295,904 l/1967 Cobb 220/31 S 3,339,781 9/1967 Schurman et a I 3,612,233 10/1971 Nagpal 190/57 Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Dawson, Tilton, Fallon & Lungmus  ABSTRACT A plastic tote box for student use includes an enclosed .box provided with a lid which extends to include the front wall of the box and a portion of the top wall where the lid is hinged. A pair of side horizontal grooves extend rearwardly of the hinge for receiving support slides so that the box may be stored in a bottomless desk or the like with the lid closed. In use, the box may be partially removed and the lid opened to gain access to the box while-it is still supported on the slides. Alternatively, the box may be fully removed from the desk, turned on its back, and used as a carrying case. The lid includes a hand recess, and it is adapted so that the hand of a personcarrying the box by its handle, holds the lid in a closed position.
' 12 Claims, 25 Drawing Figures SHEET 2 OF 6 PATENTEU JAN21 I975 SHEET t 0F 6 I PATENTEO JAN 2 I I975 FIG. I6 360 PATENTED M21 1915 SHEET 6 OF 6 FIG. 24,
TOTE BOX BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY The present invention relates to a case for use by a student in storing and transporting books or other class materials.
Heretofore, class materials, particularly laboratory materials, have been stored in what have become known as tote trays which are plastic trays having four upstanding side walls and an open top. The upper edges of the side walls are curved outwardly to form ledges which act to hold the tray on horizontal slides in a storage position. Further, enclosed boxes have been used for transporting and storing books and the like, but to our knowledge, they have not been adapted for storage on horizontal slides as have the tote trays. Further, such enclosed boxes as have been known have been cumbersome in that in order to gain access, the entire top of the box has to be removed.
The present invention provides for a tote box which is formedinto an integral body from an upper portion and a lower portion.'.The two portions are made of thermoplastic material and they are secured together about a peripheral flange which extends along the back of the assembledboxv and forwardly along a substantial portion of the two sides. The peripheral flange on the sides of the box forms the lower surface of a horizontal groove which is adapted to receive supporting slidesof a bottomless desk or the like.
The upper portion of the box includes a lid at its forward end which is affixed to the upper portion of the box along a hinge line extending acrossthe width of the box. The lid forms the forward wall of the closed box, and it extends into the top surface of the box to the hinge line. Thelid also includes side triangular gussets so that when the lid is open, the front wall, as well as a portion of the top and side walls is removed to permit greater access into the box.
When the lid is in a closed position, it includes upper horizontal surfaces which serve as an-extension of the support groove and as a guide for a supporting slide. At
the forward end of each of these horizontal 'suraces on the lid there is an upstanding stop member adapted to engage an associated slide and thereby limit the inser tion of the tote box into a desk.
The central portion of the lid is formed into a hand recess, at the bottom of which there is formed a finger recess defined at its forward portion by a transverse latch support bar which includes a latch member. A handle is formed at the central forward portion of the bottom of the totef box, and it is adpated to engage the latch. Thus, when a student carries the closed box, the
box is rotated to-a vertical position'from its horizontal.
storage position, and the student graps both the handle on the base of the tote box and the latch support bar on the lid, thereby firmly holding-the box inits closed position and preventing dislocation of elements in the.
Thepresentinvention, by having the openable lid extending only partially into the top wall and includingto spill out. Further, with the present invention, when the tote box is stored under a table top, the box may be partially removed from its storage position position and the lid opened while the box is still supported in the desk. I-Ieretofore, tote boxes had to be completely removed in order to be opened or, again, the contents would fall out.
The box of the present invention is provided with a pencil holder for holding pencils and pens securely within the box, and the pencil holder forms a trough which cooperates with a portion of the handle in the base of the box to hold the pencils in place when the box is in either a vertical or a horizontal position. 1
The lid of the box includes a lipportion which overlaps the mating portion of the bottom of the box in the closed position. This lip serves not only to strengthen the lid of the box, but to prevent the entrance of dust and rain into the box.
The lid is easily opened by simply inserting a thumb beneath the handle, engaging the latch supported by the lid and twisting it rearwardly to disengage thehandle. The same twisting'motion forces the lid upwardly after the latch is disengaged.
The box is preferably formed by heat sealing an upper and a lower section together under pressure, and the disclosed embodiment thereby forms an interior bead for strengthening the joined parts.
The outer surfaces of the tote box are textured and the pattern is such that it does not interfere with writing. Hence, the box can be held in a students lap and used to provide a writing surface, and the hinge between the lid andthe main portion of the tote box does not interfere with the writing.
A plurality of laterally extending gussets reinforce the upper flange defining the side grooves for receiving the support slides, and they prevent collapsing of the box when it is stored on the slides.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the art from the-following detailed description of apreferred embodiment accompanied by the attached drawing wherein identical reference n-umeralsrefer to like parts in the various views.
FIG. 1 is a three-quarter'frontal perspective view of a tote box constructed according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 with the lid of the tote box open to show a latch and a pencil tray;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of the front end of the bottom of the tote box with the pencil tray above a row of projections that secure it. to the box itself; a
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view of the pencil tray portion of the box taken through the'sight line 4-4 of FIG. 3; 3
.FIG. 5 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 3 but with the pencil tray in assembled relation with the bottom of the tote box;
. FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through the sight line 6-6 of FIG; 5;
FIG. 7 is another fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 5 but with the pencil tray fully secured to' the bottom of the box;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 6 taken through sight line 8-8 of FIG. 7;.
FIG. 9 is a close up sectional view of the pencil tray with the box turned upright;
FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the upper and lower parts of the tote box as they appear before being joined together;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary exploded sectional view of the upper and lower portions of the box taken at 11-11 of FIG. 10, above and below, illustrating the construction in the area of the joint;
FIG. 12 is another fragmentary sectional view, similar to FIG. 11, but with the upper section resting on the wall of the lower section; before the application of heat;
FIG. 13 is still another fragmentary sectional view of the same area, but showing the upper and lower parts joined together as a result of the application of heat and pressure;
FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the latching hand grip in the closed position;
FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view of the latching hand grip, taken through sight line 15-15 of FIG. 14, the latch being shown in solid line;
.FIG. 16 is a fragmentary perspective view of the latching hand grip with the tote box open;
FIG. 17 is a fragmentary sectional view of the latching hand grip taken through sight line 17-17 of FIG. 16;
FIG. 18 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the box top and lid at the hinge taken through sight line 18-18 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 19 is a three-quarter rear perspective view of the closed tote box;
FIG. 20 is a side view of the tote box standing in the upright position;
FIG. 21 is a front view of the tote box in its stored position;
FIG. 22 Ba sectional view of the table top taken through sight line 22-22 of FIG. 21;
FIG. 23 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through sight line 23-23 of FIG. 20;
FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a bottomless book storage student station wherein the tote box resting on transverse tube supports; and
FIG. 25 is a sectional view taken through sight line 25-25 of FIG. 24, showing more clearly how the tote box rests on the round or square cross tubes.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The tote box of the present invention is intended to have two principal orientations. One of these is referred to as a horizontal or storage position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and the tote box is normally in this position when being stored on slides under a table top. The other position isreferred to as the 'carrying" position, illustrated in FIG. 20, wherein the box rests on a flat surface, supported by the back of the box. The back, front, top, etc. of the box refer to a person's viewing the box in its normal storage position, the front of the box being closest to the observer. The front is facing downwardly and leftwardly in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 10, a tote box generally designated is made in two parts including a lower part or base 31 and an upper part or top 32. The top 32 includes a flat top plate 33 covering a larger portion of its total area, and a lid 34 which can be raised about a hinge line represented by the dashed line 34a to the position shown in FIG. 2. A latch 35 on the lid 34 engages a hand grip 36 on the base 31 to hold the lid in a closed position. Entrance is gained to the interior of the box by disengaging the latch 35 from the hand grip. When the box is closed as in FIGS. 1, 14 and 15, a latch support bar 37 becomes part of the hand grip so that there is no danger of the tote box being accidentally opened when it is being carried. That is, in the latched position, the latch-support bar 37 aligns with the hand grip 36 and is spaced outwardly of the finger-insertion aperture 370 so that a person holds both the bar 37 and the hand grip and thereby prevents accidental opening of the lid when carrying the box.
The lid 34 includes a flat top surface 34b which lies in the same plane as the top surface 33 of the tote box so as to form a continuous writing surface when the box is removed from its storage location. At the front of the lid 34 there is formed a generally vertical recess 34c which pem'iits the entry of a hand to gain access to the handle 36 and latch support bar 37 in carryingthe tote box. It will be observed from FIGS. 1, 2 and 21 that the lid 34 comprises the major portion of the front of the box and sides of the lid are inclined running from a point adjacent the bottom of the front wall to a point approximately one-third the length of the box (when viewed from the side as in FIG. 22). Thus, when the tote box is open, access is permitted both through the front and through a portion of the top of the box to the contents. This has been found to greatly facilitate the use of the box in putting storage articles into it and in retrieving the articles while, at the same time, reserving the front portion of the box for pencils, as will be disclosed below.
To open the tote box when the lid is latched closed it is necessary only to push inward on the lower portion of the latch support bar 37 while holding the hand grip 36, this rotates the latch 35 until it clears the edge of the hand grip stiffener flange 38 (FIGS. 15 and 17). A thumb recess 36a in the hand grip 36 in front of the latch 35 facilitates unlatching with the thumb by guiding the thumb to the latch 35. To close the tote box lid, FIGS. 16. and 17, the lid 34 or the latch support bar 37 is pushed down. The lower part of the latch surface as at 39 is tapered so that it will slide down the rear edge 40 of the hand grip stiffener flange 38 until its upper catch surface 41 snaps under the lower edge 42 of the hand grip stiffener flange 38.
Before the sections 31, 32 of the box are assembled, a pencil tray 43 is secured to the box bottom 44 (see 7 FIGS. 3 through 9) by the application of heat and pressure. The sections 31 and 32 as well as the tray 43 are molded from a thermoplastic material. A pencil tray flange 45 isperforated at 46 in several places so it will fit over projections 47 on the upper surface of the bottom 44 as in FIGS. 5 and 6. When heat and pressure are applied, the plastic melts so that the pencil tray flange 45 becomes a part of the box bottom 44 and the projections 47 are smoothed in flange 45 as in FIGS. 8 and 9. The pencil tray is provided with prongs 48 which are spaced outwardly from the bottom 44 and spaced laterally from each other to form an elongated trough with access areas 480 (FIG. 7) for retrieving the pencils. The prongs 48 are long enough to hold several pencils as at 49 in FIG. 9 when the tote box is lying down or in the upright position FIGS. 8 and 9. It will be observed that the rear part of the handle 36 extends upwardly at 36a (FIGS. 3-9) to cooperate with the pencil holder 43 in securing pencils or pens in place in the holder.
The steps in assembling the tote box are illustrated in FIGS. through 13. Each side of the upper portion 32 contains two vertically-spaced flanges 50 and 51 which form a groove 52 for support slides. The rear portion of the lower flange 51 is tapered downwardly as at 510 in FIGS. 1 and 2 to form an inclined guide surface when the tote box is being placed on slides. The upper flange 50 is reinforced by a series of gussets 53 spaced along the edge of the top surface 33. There is a narrow depending tongue or ridge 54 along the lower edge of the lower flange 51 which is adapted to contact the upper edge 55 of the wall 56 of the lower part-31 (see FIG. 11). A tongue 57 is located along the outer edge wall 56 and it extends outwardly as far as the outermost portion of the lower flange 51, refer to FIG. 12. As heat and pressure are. applied to the flange 51 and tongue 57 from above and below, the thermoplastic material in the contacting edges 54 and 55 is squeezed together and oozes out to fill the groove 58, on the outside and forms a slight bead 59 on'the inside corner, best seen in FIG. 13.
FIG. 18 illustrated a thinner area 60 in the lid 34 which provides a hinge along the line 34a. Thevthinner line is obtained by having a small area in the top 33 of very thin plastic material, with the groove formed by lack of the material being on the inside while the outside surface 61 remains continuously smooth (though the surface is textured) and level for a good appearance, and ease of writing on the outside surface The fragmentary sectional view shows the flat top 33 of the upper portion at the right and thelid 34 flat in the closed position. In the position shown in dotted line at 62, the lid is shown'partially opened, while in the position shown by dash and dot line 63, the lid is raised 90 relative to the level surface 33, and in the position shown by dash and double dot line 64, the lid is shown in the full opened position wherein the top of the lid is folded back to form an acute angle with the flat surface 33. The preferred material out of which the box is made is polyethylenewhich istough and durable so the hinge will last a very longtime. Referring nowto FIG. 19, the tote'box includes a rear wall 65 and elongated flanges 66 on the sides. The flanges 66 are formed by joining thelower flange 51 of the'upper portion and the 72 on a set of horizontal slides 71 designed-for this pur- I pose. It will be observed that the lid 34 is provided with horizontal surfaces 70 which are aligned with and act as a continuation of the lower surface of groove 52. At the. forward end of each of the surfaces 70 is a stop member 70a which extends transverse of the groove 52 to block it. The stop members 70a are intended to engage the forward edges of the slides 71 to limit insertion of the tote box into the desk, thus obviating the need for some stop mechanism on the desk itself which may also, then, receive a tote tray in place of the tote box, if desired.
A principal advantage of the tote box of the present invention is that the tote box can be pulled part of the way out from under the table top 72, as in FIG. 22,
then the lid 34 can be raised to gain entrance to the box These support tubes may be square or round as shown.
As best seen in FIG. 23, a forward edge 76 of the lid 34 of the tote box has a flap 77 extending beyond it to add strength to the box, to align the edge 76 of the lid with the upper edge 78 of the bottom portion 31 of the box, and to provide an overlap to keep out dust and moisture-from the box which could enter the'otherwise unprotected opening.
Thus, a student can store the tote box at his student station while in class, carry his books with him from class to'class, and carry them home with him in the tote box, even in the worst weather, without exposing the tongue 57 of the lower part, as already described. The
flange continues around the rear of the box as at 67 and protrudes well beyond the rear wall 65. Vertical ribs 68 are spaced to the sides of the rear wall 65 and form support surfaces 68a which liein a plane with the rear surface of flange 67 for supporting the box when it is stood in the carrying position. The rear. wall 65 forms an.
angle of about 3 relative to a true perpendicular with the bottom 44, and the side walls form similar angles to permit sufficient draft for the removal of the part from the forming mold. From FIG. 20 it can be seen that the front surface 69 is about 3 from being perpendicular to the top surface 34bof the lid to allow the necessary draft also for facilitating removal from the mold.
Referring to FIGS. 19 and 20 the groove 52 can be seen to be formed between the upper flange 50 and the wide peripheral flange 66 (which in turn is formed by books to the elements.
- Having thus described in detail the preferred embodiment of the inventive tote box, 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.
v 1. A tote box for transporting and storing books and the like comprising: an integral body having a top, a bottom, forming a handle adjacent the center forward portion thereof, and four upright side walls, a major portion of one of said upright walls above said handle being integrally formed with a portion of said top to form a lid, including a hand recess area in the upright side wall thereof and a transverse latch support bar extending across said recess 10 provide a finger recess,
said latch support bar being positioned adjacent the closing edge of said-lid and alignable with said handle formed in the bottom of said tote box when said lid is placed in a closed position, whereby a person grasping said handle of said box when said lid is in a closed position will also grasp said latch support bar and thereby hold said lid in a closed position during transportation;
hinge means joining said lid to the remainder of said to thereby open one of said walls and at least a portion of said top; sliding support channel means formed integrally with opposing upright side walls of said tote box and extendingrearwardly only from said hinge line for forming an elongated channel on either side of said box parallel to the bottom and adapted to receive stationary slide supports for supporting said box in partially extended position, whereby said box may be partially removed from its associated slide supports and said lid may be selectively raised to an open position while the box is held by said slide supports.
2. The article of claim 1 wherein said latch support bar'further comprises a latch and said handle further includes a latch-engaging surface extending rearwardly thereof and adapted to hold the latch of said lid in locked position when said lid is closed.
3. The article of claim 2 wherein said handle further includes a thumb recess are aligned with the latch of said lid when said lid is closed whereby a thumb of a person is guided by said thumb recess to engage said latch and a twisting motion will twist said latch support bar and disengage said latch from said edge thereby to open said lid.
.4. The article of claim 1 further comprising pencil holder means extending transversely of the bottom of said box and defining a pencil trough, the handle of said box being raised adjacent the open side of said trough to restrict the movement of pencils in said trough and to cooperate with said pencil holder to prevent accidental dislodgement of said pencils therefrom.
5. The article of claim 1 wherein said box is formed from a base portion comprising a single piece molded at one time and including a back wall, the major portion of first and second upright opposite side walls extending fowardly of said back wall, and a bottom wall; and a top portion including a top plate, a front wall and the complementary portions of said first and second side walls, 'said top plate including a fixed flat surface rearward of said hinge line .and a co-planar flat surface extending forwardly of said hinge line, said base and top portions each being provided with an outwardly extending peripheral flange, said portions being joined together along said flange to provide an integral reinforcing flange and an interior reinforcing bead.
6. The system of claim 5 wherein each of said slide means comprises an inwardly extending groove formed by an upper horizontal flange extending outwardly of said top portion and a lower horizontal flange formed from the joined peripheral flanges of said top and base portions of said box, said box further comprising outwardly extending reinforcing gussets for strengthening said upper flange and preventing collapsing of said box in said storage position. I
7. The article of claim 1 wherein said box is adapted to be placed in a horizontal storage position and a vertical carrying position, said box further comprising a plurality of spaced feet molded integrally with the back thereof and adapted to support said box in said carrying position, whereby said lid may be opened to gain access into said box when said box is placed in said carrying position.
8. The article of claim 7 wherein said lid further comprises a peripheral overlapping lip formed about the juncture between said lid and the base portion of said box to cover the juncture between the two when said lid is placed in a closed position.
9. The article of claim 7 wherein said lid further comprises horizontal surfaces aligned with the lower surface of said side recesses when said lid is closed and provided with forward upright stop members for limiting the insertion of said box beneath a table top.
10. A tote box comprising an integral body formed from a top portion and a base portion; said top portion including a top plate extending from the back of the assembled box forwardly to a hinge line and a lid hingedly connected to said top plate at said hinge line and including a co-planar extension of said top plate and a front closure wall defining a hand recess area at the center thereof communicating with a finger recess area partially defined by a transverse latch bar; said base portion including a flat bottom and upstanding rear and side walls extending to said top portion to enclose said box; a handle formed in said bottom beneath the hand recess area of said lid when said lid is closed and including means for latching to said latch bar of said lid; whereby when said lid is closed and said case is carried, the hand of a person will grasp both said handle of said base portion'and the latch bar of said lid, holding them together and in latched relation.
11. A tote box comprising an integral rigid body including a bottom wall, a back wall and a pair of side walls extending upwardly from said bottom wall, a top wall extending parallel to said bottom wall and integral with the tops of said back and side walls; and a lid forming at least a portion of said top wall and a front wall hingedly connected to said top wall and adapted for movement between a closed position and an open position, means for latching said lid to said bottom wall when in said closed position; handle means in said bottom wall for carrying said case; and means defining grooves extending parallel to said bottom wall in said box and adapted to receive horizontal slides for supporting said box in a storage position, said grooves extending rearwardly of said hinge connection between limit the insertion of said box into a storage area.