US 20050045635 A1
In an illustrative embodiment, a container to store a plurality of articles comprises a body and a cover. The cover is adapted to close the body and comprises at least one opening and at least one lid to close the opening. The lid has a first end and a second end. The first end of the lid may be pivotally connected to the cover. The lid may be slidably connected to the cover. The lid is capable of being in an opened position and in a closed position. The container may comprise a second cover adapted to fit into a cavity in the cover with the opening and the lid located in the cavity. The second cover may completely cover the cavity. The second cover may completely cover the opening and the lid. An outer rim and a tear strip at the bottom of the outer rim for opening the cover may be provided. The opening is adapted to receive a human hand when the lid is in the opened position to retrieve articles. The lid may be a rectangle, triangle, or a semicircle, for example. The lid may comprise a snapper on the second end of the lid to close the lid. The cover may be removable from the body. The lid and the opening may be fully within the cover. The pivotal connection may comprise a hinge, for example. The articles may comprise at least one from the following list of fasteners: nuts, screws, and bolts, for example.
1. A container to store articles, comprising:
a body defining a first opening; and
a cover coupled to the body to close the first opening of the body;
wherein: the cover has a surface defining at least one second opening; and
the cover comprises at least one lid coupled to the cover to selectively open and close the second opening.
2. The container of
a second cover adapted to fit into the cavity in the cover.
3. The container of
4. The container of
5. The container of
6. The container of
7. The container of
8. The container of
9. The container of
10. The container of
11. The container of
12. The container of
13. A cover for a container, the cover comprising:
a surface defining a cavity and at least one opening in the cavity;
at least one lid coupled to the surface to selectively open and close the opening; and
the cover further comprises a second cover adapted to fit into the cavity in the cover.
14. The cover of
15. The container of
16. The container of
17. The container of
an outer rim and a tear strip at the bottom of the outer rim for releasing the cover from the body.
18. The container of
the opening is adapted to receive a human hand when the lid is opened.
19. The container of
20. The container of
21. The container of
22. The container of
23. The container of
24. A container storing articles, comprising:
a body defining a first opening; and
a cover coupled to the body to close the body;
the cover comprises a surface having at least one opening and at least one lid coupled to the cover to selectively open and close the opening;
the cover defines a cavity, and
the container further comprises a second cover adapted to fit into the cavity in the cover, wherein the opening and the lid are located in the cavity; and
a plurality of articles within the body.
25. The container of
26. A cover for a container, the cover comprising:
a surface having at least one opening;
the cover defining a cavity, the opening being located in the cavity; and
the cover further comprising:
a member adapted to fit into the cavity to cover at least a portion of the cavity.
The present application is a continuation-in-part of Design Pat. application No. 29/189,372 filed on Sep. 3, 2003 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is incorporated by reference herein.
The present invention relates to containers, such as pails, for storing articles.
A container for storing articles, such as a pail, may comprise a body and a cover. Pails are commonly used to store a large number of small objects, such as nuts, bolts, screws, or other such fasteners. Pails may be used in hardware stores, for example, to store such items separately from similar items of different shape and size. A large number of pails may therefore be stored on shelves in the store. When a user, who may be an employee of the store, needs to take a number of items from a pail, the user typically takes an appropriate pail off the shelf, lowers it to the floor, removes the cover completely, reaches into the body of the pail, and takes the required number of items out. Then the user closes the cover, lifts the pail, and places it back on the shelf.
The pails, which may contain a large number of small items made of metals such as iron, may be very heavy. Commonly, a pail having a length, width and height of about 7.5×7.5×7.5 inches and filled with fasteners, such as screws, may weigh about 30 pounds, for example. Continuously lifting and moving such pails may be tiring, especially during a typical 8-hour work shift. Moreover, a typical order may include small quantities of dozens of items, each stored in a separate pail, requiring a plurality of pails to be accessed. In addition, while the cover is removed from the pail, the user may accidentally spill the contents of the pail, requiring time to gather the spilled items, interrupting the normal flow of order filling. It is very time-consuming to perform all of the above described steps to retrieve the items, reducing the number of orders which can be filled in a given period of time and therefore reducing sales. It may also require hiring people capable of heavy lifting, thus restricting a potential pool of employees to those with extra strength. It may also have a health toll on the employees performing this heavy lifting, causing back, muscle, and groin injuries which may cause the employees to miss work.
An alternative method of storing pails is to stack them one upon another, thereby requiring that a pail be made of a sturdy material to withstand pressure from the heavy pails filled with items stacked upon it. Removal of items from a pail in the middle of a stack requires lifting all the pails above it and removing them to a nearby location to gain access to the middle pail. Thus the lifting involved and its associated detriments described above may be increased in this storage arrangement.
In addition, pails filled with fasteners may be used outdoors. For example, construction workers may take the pails to a worksite and leave them there overnight in the open air. Atmospheric moisture, such as rain or dew, may leak into the body of the pail, thus damaging its contents.
In addition, since the cover of a typical pail may be removed from the body and then securely attached again, a user would not have any indication that someone had substituted all or part of the original contents of the pail with counterfeit contents. Thus, the user may be harmed by unknowingly using counterfeit products, which are typically inferior to the original products in material and workmanship.
One embodiment of the invention is directed to easing access to the items stored in a container, such as a pail, by including a lid in the cover. This lid can be opened and closed without removing the cover from the pail. Hence, a user may access the items stored in the pail by opening the lid and reaching into the pail, without removing the cover. In addition, the pail can remain in the place where it is stored, such as on a shelf, and the user need not lift or move the pail to an open space in order to remove the cover. Therefore, with a pail in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the need to lift a heavy pail off a shelf and the need to remove the cover off the pail whenever articles are needed, may be reduced or eliminated. The risk of spilling contents of the pail (when the cover is opened) may also be reduced. Access to the items stored in the pail is thereby facilitated.
Another embodiment of the invention is directed to preventing rain and other atmospheric moisture from getting inside the body through an opened or not tightly closed lid. To accomplish this, a cavity is defined in the cover into which a second cover, such as a plate, is inserted. The plate completely covers the cavity including the lid, and thus reduces the amount of moisture that may contact the lid and leak through the opening into the body.
Another embodiment of the invention is directed to providing an indicator of potential counterfeiting of the contents of the pail by providing a tear strip along the circumference of the cover. Since the cover closes the body so tightly, a counterfeiter has to tear off the tear strip in order to substitute the original contents for the counterfeit contents. However, in accordance with this embodiment of the invention, once the tear strip is torn off, the cover cannot be tightly closed on the body. It may also be visually apparent that the tear strip has been removed. The user may thereby realize that the contents of the pail may have been counterfeited.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a pail to store articles is disclosed comprising a body and a cover. The cover is adapted to close the body. The cover defines at least one opening and comprises at least one lid to open and close the opening. The opening may be adapted to receive a human hand when the lid is in the opened position, to retrieve articles. The lid has a first end and a second end. The first end of the lid may be coupled to the cover, such as via a pivotable connection. The opening and the lid may be located in a cavity in the cover and the pail may comprise a second cover adapted to fit within the cavity. The second cover may completely cover the cavity, thereby completely covering the opening and the lid. An outer rim and a tear strip at the bottom of the outer rim of the cover may be provided. The lid may be a rectangle, a triangle, or a semicircle, for example. The lid may comprise a snapper on the second end of the lid opposite the pivot to close the lid. The lid and the opening may be fully within the cover. The pivotal connection may comprise a hinge.
In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a cover for a container is disclosed. The cover comprises at least one opening and at least one lid to open and close the opening. The opening may be adapted to receive a human hand when the lid is in the opened position, to retrieve articles. The lid may have an end. The end of the lid may be coupled to the cover, such as via a pivotable connection. The opening and the lid may be located in a cavity in the cover and the pail may comprise a second cover adapted to fit within the cavity. The second cover may completely cover the cavity, thereby completely covering the opening and the lid. A tear strip may be provided, as described above.
In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a pail storing a plurality of articles is disclosed comprising a body and a cover, as described above. The articles may comprise a fastener such as nuts, screws, nails, and bolts, for example.
Further objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing an illustrative embodiment of the invention, in which:
The body 1 comprises four walls—a front wall 1 a, a left wall 1 b, a right wall (not shown), and a back wall (not shown). All four walls are attached at their proximal ends to a bottom wall 54, shown in phantom in
Handle blocks 15 are positioned on the left wall 1 b and the right wall of the body 1. Each of the handle blocks 15 has an axial hole 16 for mounting one end of a handle 3. The handle 3 is thus pivotally connected to the body 1. The handle 3 may have a lowered position, as shown in
As mentioned above, the lid 23 is located in the cover 2. The lid 23 is shown in
The cover 2 comprises an inner rim 21 consisting of section 21 b and three other sections (not shown) extending downward from a bottom 34 of the top surface 31 and running circumferentially around the cover 2. An outer rim 20 consists of four sections 20 a, 20 b, 20 c, and 20 d extending downward from the bottom 34 of the top surface 31 and running circumferentially around the cover 2. The outer rim 20 defines the thickness of the cover 2. A gap 22 is formed by a space between the inner rim 21 and the outer rim 20.
A flange 26 consists of four sections (not shown) extending from the sections 20 a, 20 b, 20 c, and 20 d of the outer rim 20 inwardly into the gap 22. The four sections of the flange 26 run circumferentially around the outer rim 20 underneath the sections 31 a, 31 b, 31 c, and 31 d of the top surface 31. An edge 27 extends downward from the top surface 31. The flange 26 is made of a resilient material, such as polypropylene, to enable it to be deformed when pressed over the flange 12 of the body 2 and to return to its normal dimensions when the flange 12 is cleared, providing a snap fit. When the cover 2 has to be closed on the body 1, the cover 2 is placed on the mouth 11 such that the flange 12 fits into the gap 22. Then pressure is applied onto the cover 2, downward toward the bottom wall of the body 1, until the flange 26 snaps over the flange 12 to securely close the cover 2 on the body 1, preventing the contents of the pail A from escaping. Since the flange 26 snaps over the flange 12, it is difficult to remove the cover 2. A tool, such as a screw driver, may be inserted as a wedge between the outer rim 20 and the flange 12, for example.
To remove the cover 2 for the first time, the tear strip 25 needs to be torn off, to remove the flange 26 or substantial portions of it from the cover 2.
In this embodiment, once the tear strip 25 is torn off, the cover 2 cannot be tightly closed on the body 1 because the flange 12 does not engage the remaining portion of the flange 26 as tightly as when the tear strip 25 and the complete flange 26 were in place. Thus, this aspect of the invention can alert a user to possible counterfeiting because the user, who purchased the pail A with articles in it, would notice that the cover 2 is not securely closed on the body 1 and is likely to become suspicious of the origin of the contents of the pail A. Given this ease of detecting potential tampering, counterfeiters are less likely to counterfeit the items stored in the pails constructed in accordance with this embodiment of the invention. Upon noticing the absence of the tear strip 25 and becoming suspicious of potential counterfeiting, the user is likely to examine or test the contents of the pail A to ascertain the quality of the contents, thus establishing whether or not actual counterfeiting occurred. Therefore, this aspect of the invention increases the chance of the user detecting counterfeit items. Hence, with the risk of detection increasing, the incentive to counterfeit is decreased.
As discussed above, in this embodiment, the plate 5 is provided to be inserted into the cavity 35 of the cover 2 to reduce the amount of atmospheric moisture, such as rain and humidity, that may come into contact with the lid 23 and the opening 24 and penetrate the pail A, where it could damage the contents of the pail A.
The plate 5 may also have markings forming two rulers 6 a and 6 b, for example. The ruler 6 a may be in centimeters and the ruler 6 b may be in inches, for example. When the plate 5 is removed, the rulers 6 a and 6 b can be used to measure different objects, thereby obviating a need to have a separate ruler.
The preferred material for the pail A is a plastic, such as polypropylene. The pail A may be formed in an extrusion molding process. Other materials that may be used may include resilient materials, such as metals and metal alloys.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the shape, size and number of openings in the cover 2 and their corresponding lids can be modified in a variety of ways. For example,
In addition, a lid may have other shapes. For example,
It will be also appreciated by those skilled in the art that in alternative embodiments of the invention a lid may be coupled to the cover by a variety of methods. For example, two or more lids may be used to close the same opening. Each lid may be separately opened and closed via a separate snapper. Other examples of lids may include a sliding lid that may slide over the opening 24. In addition, a lid may be shaped as a circle with one half of the circle defining a hole in the lid. The circular lid may cover a semicircular opening in a cover and may be rotatably coupled to the cover by a pin at the center of the circular lid. In addition, a lid may be divided into a plurality of flexible lids that may be displaced by a user's hand and return to their original position closing the opening when the hand is removed.
It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a body of a container may be build out of a number of materials, e.g., paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, fabric, etc. to suit particular storage needs. The body of a container may comprise a number of rigid sides, i.e., walls, or a fairly flaccid body, for example, a sack. The body may have more than one opening in the side walls, such as a mouth, both covered and uncovered, through which a container may be connected with other containers or mechanisms for storage, transportation, or manipulation of items. The body may comprise internal partitions enabling storage of two or more types of items in separate compartments of the same container.
The foregoing merely illustrates preferred embodiments of the invention. It will thus be appreciated that those skilled in the art will be able to devise numerous other arrangements that are within the spirit and scope of the invention, which is defined by the claim below.