US 2150620 A
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March 14, 1939. a J FROST 2,150,620
COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed July 6, 1937 Patented Mar. 14, 1939 UNITED STATES COLLAPSIBLE. CONTAINER Bernard J. Frost, Chicago, 111., assignor to Morris Simon, Chicago, Ill., and himself Application July 6, 1937, Serial No. 151,993
This invention relates to containers in general,
and more particularly to hat boxes and the like.
It is one of the objects of the present invention to provide a hat box which is collapsible when not in use, so as to occupy a minimum of space for shipment or storage and which, when expanded for use, is of suflicient strength and rigidity to protect the contents thereof, such as a hat, from the usual type of injury.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a hat box which will automatically expand from its collapsed condition, when permitted to do so, without requiring any extensive manipulations.
It is another object of the present invention to provide such a hat box wherein the collapse thereof is effected by merely compressing the box.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a container of the above-mentioned character which shall be relatively light in weight and sufficiently strong to withstand the rough usage to which such containers are subjected. Hat boxes made of paste board or other rigid material, are easily dented or broken when struck even a medium blow. It is an object of the present invention to eliminate this defect in hat boxes of the past. This result is obtained by making the container material resilient and flexible so that it will yield when subjected to impact, without becoming permanently deformed. This result is accomplished by making the body of the container of thin flexible material, such as thin sheet rubber. The material can flex and stretch under an impact, thus cush- 5 ioning the impact and avoiding injury to the container.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container of the above-mentioned character which shall be transparent so that the contents thereof may be viewed without opening the box. This eliminates the considerable shifting and opening and closing of boxes, to ascertain their contents, as is required with opaque boxes.
In accordance with the general features-of the present invention, there is provided a container shell of flexible sheet rubber material, preferably transparent, reinforced by a skeletonized metal frame comprising upper and lower rings joined by vertical spring stays, the connection between the rings and the stays being such as to permitflexing of the stays into substantially the plane of one of the rings as the upper and lower rings 5 are forcedtoward one another, to collapse the box. This is accomplished by providing a construction which permits the vertical spring stays to twist upon the application of a compressing force on the box, until in their twisted condition the stays lie in planes parallel and adjacent to 'the planes of the rings. The container comprises an open top, closed bottom cylinder, and a suitable cover may be provided for the open top. Without the cover the container may be placed in inverted position over any article that is to be covered.
The attainment of the above and further objects of the invention will be apparent from the following specification when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:
Fig. 1 is an elevation'of a hat box embodying the present invention;
Fig; 2 is an elevation of said box when partially collapsed;
Fig. 3 is a plan view of lapsed;
Figs. 4, 5 and 6 are enlarged fragmentary sectional views taken respectively on the lines 4-4, 5-5 and 66 in Fig. 1.
Fig. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing how a tying string is anchored.
Referring now more particularly to the drawing, a container l4 constructed in accordance with my invention comprises a skeleton or frame and a shell mounted thereon. The frame comprises preferably endless resilient wire rings l5 and IS in spaced planes, and intermediate spring metal or other stays H. The rings and stays are preferably covered, as by fabric.
the container fully col- 20 The shell is cup-like and comprises a fiat sheet l9 which is shaped in conformity with one of the rings, such as the ring it, to form therewith the bottom of the container, and a cylindrical body portion 20 between the rings. Any suitable reinforcement for the bottom l9 may be provided, such as the crossed cloth strips 22, preferably stitched to said bottom, although they may be independent of said bottom, if desired.
In constructing the container, the ring 15 is covered with a strip 24, preferably of fabric, and arranged'with its edges 25 extended toward the ring Hi. The body portion 20 passes about the stays and has an end 26 fitted between the edges 25; A line of stitching 21 connects said edges and end together. The stays are preferably covered with fabric strips 29, and an end 30 of each covered stay is fitted between the edges 25 at suitably spaced points. A metallic or other suitable staple 3| penetrates the edges 25, end 26 and strip 29at opposite sides of each stay, and
sewed together to and preferably within the body portion 2!! as shown at 33.
The ring I6 is covered preferably by a fabric strip 35 whose edges 36 are disposed radially inwardly of the ring. The strips 29 terminate beyond the ends of the stays adjacent the ring IS in free ends 31 which, with the adjacent end 38 of the body portion 20, are turned outwardly and fit between the edges 36. The reinforcing strips 2'1 may be sewed as at 39 to the shell bottom l9, and the ends ll] of said strips together with the edge Al of the bottom 19 also fit between said edges 36. The edges 35 and the material therebetween are stitched together as at 42, completing the container. It will be observed that the flexibility of the fabric permits substantially universal pivotal movement of the stays relative to the ring l6.
The shell is preferably made of thin, transparent flexible rubber, which is light in weight and can withstand considerable abuse.
Because of the resilience of the stays and the pivotal connections thereof with the rings, and the flexibility of the body portion 26, the container may be collapsed until the rings are ad jacent each other. Moreover, the collapse may be facilitated by imparting a very slight initial twist to one of the rings about its axis as it is moved toward the other ring. When the rings are brought adjacent each other, the body portion 20 is twisted flat and the stays are likewise twisted and lie substantially parallel to the planes of and between the rings, as may be seen from Fig. 3. When collapsed, the container occupies a minimum amount of space, thus facilitating shipment and storage of the same.
Normally, the stays H are substantially straight to maintain the container distended with the rings fully spaced apart and the body portion 20 taut, presenting a neat appearance. The stays, while yieldable to collapse the container, are nevertheless fairly stiff so as to maintain the container in its normal shape and enable a container to support considerable weight.
The container M may be used for any desired purpose, bottom side down or bottom side up. The container when inverted, may be used as a cover for a cake, for example. When the container is thus inverted and its rim 24 engages a support, impacts on the flat upper portion l9 will be cushioned due to the slow leakage of air under the rim, thereby enabling the container to withstand considerable rough usage.
The container may form a part of a dustproof box for any desired purpose, as, for example, a hat box. To this end, as shown in Fig. 1, a cover 55 is provided. The cover may be formed of any suitable material, of which a thin transparent flexible rubber sheet is a preferred example. The cover comprises a fiat top portion 45 and a depending flange 41 sewed thereto at 28, and shaped in conformity with the covered ring l so as to fit snugly thereabout, and thereby exclude dust from the container. The rubber of the cover is tensioned around the ring, thus permitting only a slow escape of air from the container if the container top is struck. The free edge of the flange may be protected and reinforced, as by a fabric or other strip 49 which boxes and their contents stacked thereon,
may be folded and sewed as at 50 to the flange. Strings or cords 5| preferably oppositely disposed and secured to the ring protecting strip 35 in any suitable way, as by the stitching 42, may be tied over the top 46 as shown at 52.
The box may be collapsed like the container. The strings 5| may be employed to secure the container alone or the assembled container and cover in collapsed condition. The box, when expanded, like the container, may support a number of like and the striking of the expanded box by an object will force air to escape between the container and cover so that the box will act as a cushion, absorbing the blow and thereby avoiding injury to the part struck. In the case of the box, and likewise of the container, when the force of the striking object is removed, the stays operate automatically to efiect quick recovery of shape.
While I have shown and described one mode of practicing the invention, obviously other modes will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the various parts may be secured by adhesion or other means, and the various layers of material may be assembled and secured together in various relative positions, or, instead of using thin transparent rubber I may use transparent silk or other transparent, translucent or opaque material, such as cloth.
In compliance with the requirements of the patent statutes, I have here shown and described a preferred embodiment of my invention. It is, however, to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise construction here shown, the same being merely illustrative of the prin-- ciples of the invention. What is considered new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A hat box comprising a skeleton frame having top and bottom rings, resilient parallel stays of equal length having their ends secured adjacent peripherally equidistantly spaced portions of said rings to hold said rings in spaced parallel coaxial relation, a flexible reinforcing member extending across the bottom ring, a circular sheet of flexible transparent rubber adjacent said member, a sheet of flexible rubber in cylindrical form about said stays and between said rings, a strip of fabric covering the top ring and having its edges sewed together below said top ring, a strip of fabric covering and extending outwardly below the bottom end of each stay and having its edges sewed together adjacent such stay, a strip of fabric covering said bottom ring and having its edges sewed together at the inner periphery of said bottom ring, said member and the lower ends of the staycovering strips and said margin all being disposed between and sewed to the edges of the strip covering the bottom ring by the same stitching by which the last mentioned edges are sewed together as aforesaid, the top ends of the stay-covering strips and the top edge of the cylindrical sheet being disposed between the edges of the strip covering the top ring and sewed to the last mentioned edges by the same stitching by which said last mentioned edges are sewed together as aforesaid, said cylindrical sheet being sewed to and exteriorly of said stay-covering strips by the stitching joining the edges of said strips, the aforesaid structure constituting a container adapted to be collapsed substantially flat by bowing said stays when the rings are forced together.
2. A container comprising a base, a top ring, stays connected to said base and ring and holding them in spaced planes, said stays and said top ring being encased in separate flexible casings, and a flexible sheet in cylindrical form secured to said base and ring, the casings of the stays being secured to the base and to the casing of the ring, said stays being resiliently spnngable to allow said ring to approach said base when the container is collapsed, the connections of the casing of said stays with said base and with the casing of the ring being constructed and arranged to allow said ring and said stays to twist and the stays to bend radially inwardly at their center so that the stays and top ring lie substantially flat adjacent said base.
3. A box comprising a skeleton frame having top and bottom rings, resilient parallel stays of equal length having their ends secured adjacent peripherally equidistantly spaced portions of said rings and extending vertically of said rings in spaced parallel co-axial relation and being flexible radially inwardly of the box, a sheet of material extending across the bottom ring, a sheet of flexible substantially transparent rubber in cylindrical form about said stays and between said rings, a flexible covering for the top ring and having its edges secured together, a flexible strip covering and extending outwardly below the bottom end of each stay and having its edges secured together adjacent such stay, a flexible covering for said bottom ring and having its edges secured together, the lower ends of the stay covering strips and said edges of the bottom ring covering being secured to the edge of the cylinder, the top ends of the stay covering strips and the top edge of the cylindrical sheet being secured to the edges of the strip covering the top ring, said cylindrical sheet being secured to the stay covering strips, the aforesaid structure constituting a container adapted to becollapsed substantially flat by turning said rings and bowing said stays radially inwardly when the rings are forced together.
BERNARD J. FROST.