US 3924354 A
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Unite States Patent [191 Gregoire Dec. 9, 1975 SHIPPING AND DISPLAY CARTON FOR CUT FLOWERS  Inventor: Gerald L. Gregoire, San Rafael,
 Assignee: Gregoire Flowers, Inc., San
 Filed: July 30, 1974  Appl. No.: 493,037
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,044,260 1 1/1912 Schloss 47/41 1,270,554 6/1918 Rubel 47/34.ll X
1,867,447 7/1932 Dunn 206/452 1,959,510 5/1934 Van Waveren 47/34.ll
2,545,803 3/1951 Bergstein 229/28 3,314,194 4/1967 Halleck 47/3411 3,379,304 4/1968 Mertz 47/34.11
3,754,642 8/1967 Stidolph 47/34ll1 X Primary ExaminerRobert E. Bagwill Attorney, Agent, or FirmOwen, Wickersham &
Erickson  ABSTRACT Individually packaged bunches of cut flowers are carried in a compartmented tray. The lower end of each flower bunch is wrapped in a watertight wrapper which forms a pouch. The pouch is partially filled with a liquid preservative and is tied to the flower stems. Each separate flower bunch and related pouch can be removed from the tray without fluid dripping and can be sold as a unit to a customer.
The tray is displayed at a desired height by a base having tray supports formed in the side walls. The base holds the tray securely in a fixed vertical and horizontal position within an open upper end. The base is also constructed to serve as the top for the shipping carton for the cut flowers when the base is inverted from the display position and slipped down over the top of the tray in a shipping position.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Sheet 1 0f 2 3,924,354
' US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet2of2 3,924,354
SHIPPING AND DISPLAY CARTON FOR CUT FLOWERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a shipping and display carton for cut flowers. It relates particularly to a flower bunch packaging and display arrangement which enables separate flower bunches to be pre-bunched with integral liquid preservative pouches and readily merchandised without fluid dripping or mess in high traffic areas of retail shops such as drugstores, liquor stores, delicatessens and the like.
Cut flowers are usually sold on the retail level by florist shops, and to some extent in the produce areas of supermarkets.
One reason that the sales of cut flowers are largely confined to such outlets is because of the water or preservative that is required to prevent wilting. The fact that cut flowers are usually shipped in relatively large quantities is also a factor which tends to restrict the number and type of retail outlets for cut flowers.
Since it is necessary either to refrigerate cut flowers or to keep the stems of the cut flowers in water or a preservative to prevent wilting, the flowers sold at the retail level are usually kept in large liquid filled containers or vases if refrigeration is not available or convenient.
Most retail customers want only a few flowers, usually no more than six or 12. The prior art retail flower vendor therefore took the desired number of flowers from a larger group and wrapped them in an individual wrapper or package at the point of sale. As a result, the prior art cut flower vendors were located either where there was refrigeration or where water dripping incident to the wrapping or other handling of the cut flowers could be tolerated.
Many cut flower purchases are impulse purchases, and the sales of cut flowers can be substantially increased by displaying the cut flowers in high traffic areas of shops such as drugstores, delicatessens, liquor stores, etc.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION It is an important object of the present invention to display cut flowers in a way that the cut flowers can be located in areas of high pedestrian traffic.
It is a closely related object to pre-bunch and prepackage cut flowers in bunches with a small number of flowers in each bunch and in a way that not only presents the flowers attractively but also eliminates the need for refrigeration and avoids problems of water dripping and mess. The flowers can therefore be located in areas that have the greatest potential for increased sales.
The cut flower display structure of the present invention has a compartmented tray for holding separate flower bunches upright in the compartments in the tray. For display purposes the tray is supported with the open upper end of a rectangular shaped base. The tray also forms the bottom part of a shipping carton; and the rectangular base, when inverted, provides the top part or enclosure for the shipping carton.
The compartments in the tray are formed by two sets of parallel extending divider strips which are disposed at right angles to one another and interlocked together. Each individual compartment therefore has four relatively closely spaced side walls which are tall enough to provide the sidewise support required for holding the stems of a related flower bunch upright.
The lower end of each flower bunch is wrapped in a waterproof wrapper that forms a pouch about the lower ends of the stems of the flower bunch. This pouch is partially filled with a liquid preservative. The pouch is securely fastened to the stems of the flower bunch so that the liquid is maintained within the pouch during shipping and display, and the flower bunch and the pouch can be inserted into or withdrawn from the compartment as an integral unit.
As noted above, the upper part of the shipping carton is a rectangular shaped unit which also serves as the base for holding the tray at a desired display height when the shipping carton is converted to a display carton. In the shipping position the top is slipped over the cut flowers and the rectangular base until retainer elements (which project inwardly from the sides of the top enclosure) engage the upper edge of the tray. Straps are then fastened about the top enclosure and tray, and the tray is retained in a fixed position in a shipping carton by the retainer elements.
The shipping carton is converted to a display carton by cutting off the shipping straps, lifting up the top enclosure, inverting it and placing it with the end wall down on the floor and with the open end up for the reception of the tray. The tray is lowered into the open upper end until the bottom of the tray comes to rest on the inwardly projecting retainers. This base unit is high enough to bring the blossoms of the cut flowers near enough to eye level to make the flowers highly visible to a person walking past the display.
Since each separate flower hunch is packaged in its own watertight pouch, the display carton can be located at any store or storefront location without the need for additional water or preservative containers or refrigeration. And, the separate flower bunches can be lifted directly out of the tray compartments and sold to a customer in small flower unit groupings without water dripping or mess.
Cut flower shipping and display apparatus and methods which incorporate the structure and techniques described above and which are effective to function as described above constitute speciflc objects of this invention.
Other and further objects of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and claims and are illustrated in the accompanying drawings which, by way of illustration, show preferred embodiments of the present invention and the principles thereof and what are now considered to be the best modes contemplated for applying these principles. Other embodiments of the invention embodying the same or equivalent principles may be used and structural changes may be made as desired by those skilled in the art without departing from the present invention and the purview of the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a shipping and display carton for cut flowers constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows the carton in the shipping position with the top enclosure strapped to the lower compartmented tray which holds the flower bunches;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view like FIG. 1 but showing the top enclosure removed from the compartmented tray (as it is raised in the direction indicated by the 3 block arrow in FIGS. 1 and 2);
FIG. 3 is an isometric view showing the top enclosure and base member inverted (from the FIG. 1 shipping position) and used as a base for holding the compartmented tray and flower bunches within the top of the base in the display position;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation view of one of the separate flower bunches held within the compartmented tray;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged end elevation view in cross section taken along the line and in the direction indicated by the arrows 55 in FIG. 1 and shows how retainers in the side walls of the top hold the tray down in the shipping position; and
FIG. 6 is an enlarged end elevation view in cross section taken along the line and in the direction indicated by the arrows 66 in FIG. 3 and shows how the retainers in the side walls support the compartmented tray in the display position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS A shipping and display carton for cut flowers constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is indicated generally by the reference numeral 10 in FIG. 1.
As best illustrated in FIG. 2 the combined shipping and display carton 10 comprises two main component parts an internally compartmented tray 12 and a combination top enclosure and base member 14.
The compartmented tray 12 is a rectangularly shaped tray having a bottom wall 16 (see FIGS. 5 and 6) and side walls 18.
The interior of the tray is divided into a plurality of relatively rigid individual compartments 20 (see FIGS. 5 and 6) by interlocked divider strips. Thus, as best shown in FIG. 2, a first set of laterally spaced divider strips 22 are disposed parallel to one side wall 18 and a second set of laterally spaced divider strips 24 are disposed at 90 to the divider strips 22. The two sets of divider strips are interlocked together by slots in the upper edges of one set of strips which fit into corresponding slots in the lower edges of the other set of strips.
Each individual compartment 20 has four vertically extending side walls which are closely spaced and which are of sufficient height to provide support for the lower end of a separate flower bunch 30 as illustrated in FIG. 4.
As shown in FIG. 4 the lower end of the flower bunch 30 is wrapped in a watertight wrapping 32 which forms a pouch as illustrated. The pouch is filled with liquid 34 to a sufficient depth to immerse the stem ends of all of the flowers in the bunch.
The liquid 34 is preferably a preservative for maintaining the freshness of the flower bunch. It contains sucrose for nutrition and a bacteriacide to keep the stems from getting clogged up.
Because each pouch has its own preservative, the need for refrigeration is minimized; and this in turn permits the greatest potential for display of the flowers at locations where they will sell best.
In a specific embodiment of the present invention the wrapping 32 is Polyflex plastic. The upper end of the pouch may be tied with a plastic tie bit 36 as illustrated, or may be closed with a rubber band or other tie.
In most cases it is preferable to package just a few flowers (e.g., six to 10 flowers) in an individual bunch,
because quite often the customer does not want a greater number of flowers (such as the 25-flower bunch often used for commercial shipment).
The packaging ofa relatively small number of flowers in individual bunches with the lower tied-on pouch arrangement illustrated in FIG. 4 has the further advantage of leaving the top open so that the customer can see and smell the blossoms.
When the customer buys the flower bunch the entire bunch with the pouch can be placed in a vase as is (which has the advantage of keeping the flowers in the preservative as long as possible), or the lower pouch can be removed and the inner preservative can be poured into the vase with the flowers.
Prepackaging (prior to shipping) the individual flower bunches with liquid containing pouches thus has a number of advantages at the point of sale. This prepackaging also has definite advantages in shipping and in handling the flowers after arrival of the shipment. The preservative keeps the flowers fresh, minimizes the need for refrigeration, and the way the compartmented tray holds the individual flower bunches upright within the tray and the shipping container minimizes the handling required.
The liquid can be added to the pouches and the top of the pouches tied off before the bunches are inserted in the tray. Or the tops of the pouches can be left open and the liquid added to all of the pouches at one time, after the individual bunches have been inserted into their compartments, and the tops of the pouches then tied off. i
The top 14 for the carton 10 serves a dual purpose.
It serves as top enclosure for shipping. In the shipping position the top 14 is banded to the tray 12 by bands 40.
The top enclosure 14 also serves as a base to support the compartmented tray 12 in a display position, as illustrated in FIG. 3. To convert the carton 10 from a shipping carton to a display carton, the bands 40 are cut and the top enclosure 14 is raised off of the tray 12 (by lifting the top in the direction of the block arrow on the side of the top enclosure, as illustrated in FIG. 2). The top enclosure is then turned upside down (to the position illustrated in FIG. 3), and the compartmented tray 18 is lowered into the open upper end of the top enclosure 14, which now serves as a base unit.
The top enclosure has a top wall 42 and side walls 44. The side walls 44 at each corner have two vertically spaced and horizontally extending cuts, and the corners between these cuts 46 and 48 are pushed inward to a reversed fold line position to provide inwardly extending corner panels 50 which serve as retainer means for supporting the tray in the display position. The upper edges of the panels 50 (in the position illustrated in FIG. 3) engage the lower surface of the bottom wall 16 of the tray (see FIG. 6) to hold the tray securely in the display position. These edges of the panels 50 also engage the upper edges of the tray side walls 18 in the shipping position (see FIG. 5) to hold the tray against vertical upward movement within the top enclosure 14 when the top enclosure and tray are strapped together in the shipping position as illustrated in FIG. 1.
The top and base enclosure 14 also lends itself to an advertising function, because the side walls of the top enclosure (when used in the base position) offer large, easily viewed surface areas for press on label graphics, such as the Holiday Greetings" illustrated in FIG. 3.
While I have illustrated and described the preferred embodiments of my invention, it is to be understood that these are capable of variation and modification, and I therefore do not wish to be limited to the precise details set forth, but desire to avail myself of such changes and alterations as fall within the purview of the following claims.
1. A shipping and display carton for shipping and displaying in a vertically upright condition a plurality of separate, pre-bunched, cut flower bunches of the kind in which each bunch has a liquid containing pouch tied around the lower stem end of the bunch, said shipping and display carton comprising, an internally compartmented tray for holding separate flower bunches upright in compartments in the tray, said tray being rectangularly shaped with a bottom wall and four side walls,
a rectangular shaped base and enclosure unit for positioning the tray at a desired height in the display position of the unit,
said base and enclosure unit having four side walls dimensioned to fit closely over the sides of the tray, an end wall closing one end of the unit and an open end at the other end of the unit,
tray retainer means for holding the tray in a fixed vertical position in the upper part of the unit in said display position,
said tray retainer means including tray supports which project inwardly from the side walls and engage the bottom wall of the tray in said display position and are so located in the side walls as to engage the top edge of the tray in the shipping position to thereby retain the tray in a fixed position within the base and enclosure unit in the shipping position as well as in the display position,
wherein the base and enclosure unit has a vertical height and an open interior which enables the unit to form the top enclosure for a shipping carton for the cut flower bunches when the unit is inverted from the display position and slipped over the flowers and tray to a shipping position in which the end wall extends over the top of the flowers and the side walls extend down around the stems of the flowers and the sides of the tray, a plurality of liquid retaining pouches with each pouch having a liquid therein and adapted to contain the lower ends of the stems of an individual cut flower bunch, and
said tray having a plurality of internal compartments with each compartment having internal dimensions and a shape so related to the size and shape ofa liquid retaining pouch placed in the compartment as to hold the pouch and related cut flower bunch vertically upright during both the shipping and display modes of operation of the carton.
2. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein the tray retainer means comprises two vertically spaced and horizontally extending cuts in each side wall at each corner of the rectangular shaped base and enclosure unit and wherein the material between each pair of cuts is pressed inward to a reversed corner fold line position.
3. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein the tray has a first set of parallel and laterally spaced divider strips and a second set of parallel and laterally spaced divider strips disposed at to said first set and wherein the first and second sets of divider strips are interlocked to form a plurality of relatively rigid individual compartments each having four vertically extending side walls closely spaced and of sufficient height to provide support for the lower end of the bunch of flowers inserted in the compartment.
4. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein the fluid in each pouch contains a perservative for maintaining the freshness of the flower bunch.
5. The invention defined in claim 1 including a tie around the upper part of each pouch for tying the upper part of the pouch against the flower stems whereby each flower bunch and its pouch can be lifted bodily out of the related tray compartment for sale as a unit to a customer without dripping of liquid from the flower stems.