US 3014516 A
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Dec. 26, 1961 w. F. MUELLER 3,014,516
COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed Feb. 2, 1959 IN VENTOR.
ML M0 F M05451? 3,014,516 CQLLAPSHBLE CONTAINER William F. Mueller, 5405 Auro Ave., Tarzana, Calif. Filed Feb. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 790,659 3 Claims. (Cl. 159-59) The present invention relates to containers and more particularly to a collapsible or compressible container which in its collapsed or compressed form is of a size and shape convenient to be merchandised as a carry-out item and which in its non-collapsed or uncompressed state forms a container which will withstand substantial misuse and abuse.
In most municipalities, trash for pick-up at the home or business establishment must be placed in containers before the pick-up agency will handle the same. These pickup agencies have also imposed various other requirements, such as for example, setting a maximum size for the container employed and a maximum weight for the container and trash contained therein. The usual type of container in use is the ordinary metal barrel; however, these have the disadvantage that they are firstof all, quite heavy, so that they will hold relatively little trash before the barrel and trash exceeds the maximum permissible weight. Secondly, barrels of this type are extremely difficult to handle at the point of purchase. Because of their size, they will not fit into the ordinary car and the housewife is usually unable or refuses to handle the same. There have been recent attempts to provide a barrel formed of plastic which has the advantage over metal barrels in that there is a lower initial weight, but the same disadvantage owing to its size and awkward shape.
The barrel of the present invention is designed to overcome both of the disadvantages cited above. For example, the barrel to be hereafter described can be collapsed or compressed to a greatly reduced mass which can easily be carried by the purchaser or housewife and which, because of its reduced mass, can be merchandised through retail outlets, such as for example, supermarkets. At the point of use, the container can be released to expand into a ful1-size container, and because of the initial low weight, the container can hold more trash than metal containers. Besides these two advantages, the container of the present invention is, for all practical purposes, indestructible in view of the fact that its backbone is comprised of a compression spring formed of spring steel. The bulk of the abuse given the container is therefore directed against this compression spring which is formed of such material as to withstand any such abuse. The typical rigid metal barrel or plastic barrel, after being brown from a trash truck one or more times becomes bent and damaged to such an extent that within a relatively short period of time it is unusable. Since in applicants container the abuse is directed primarily against the compression spring, it is for all practical purposes impossible to damage the same through ordinary use.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved container of this type.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a container which employs a helical compression spring and a flexible covering over such spring.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a flexible container which can be compressed into a convenient size for merchandising purposes.
Other advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon perusal of the following description and drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container embodying the principles of the present invention shown in its expanded form.
FIG. 2 is. a vertical cross-sectional view taken on the 3,614,516 Patented Dec. 26, 1961 line 22 of FIG. 1, with parts removed, and slightly enlarged.
FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1, with parts removed, and slightly enlarged.
FIG. 4 is the container shown in- FIG. 1 in compressed form.
Referring to the drawings, a container embodying the principles of the present invention is designated broadly by the number 10. This container consists of a squared end helical spring 11 formed of spring steel and which is maintained in compression as will be more fully appreciatedhereinafter. The upper end of the spring is formed in the shape of an outwardly extending handle 12 which is anchored by a hook i3 and a suitable clamp 14 to the adjacent coil of the spring. The bottom end of the spring is likewise formed in the shape of a handle 15 which is located in vertical alignment with handle 12 and which is likewise anchored by a hook 16 and a clamp 17 to its adjacent coil.
The outer peripheral surface of the helical spring is tautly covered by a tube of flexible material 13, such as for example, burlap, denim, nylon, rubberized cloth, etc.
material 19, a, plurality of cross-members 2% formed of metal wire are strung across the bot-tom squared end and hooked tothe spring at 21.
- T o prevent movement of the flexible material 18 re1ative to the coils of the spring 11, which movement would ultimately cause abrasive wear of the cloth, a molding 22 is provided. This molding 22 in cross-section has a bead 23 formed therein, the inside diameter of which is substantially equal to the outside diameter of the spring wire forming the spring. This molding 22 is anchored between the clamps 14 and 17, is helically wound around the exterior of the container in the path of the coils of the spring and is so positioned that the spring wire along with the adjacent flexible material is received firmly in the bead. The adjacent flexible covering material, therefore, is locked to the spring and prevented from moving relative to the spring. This molding also acts as a bumper for preventing damage being imparted to the flexible covering material by reason or" the container being thrown oil a truck against a solid object, such as for example, the pavement, a fence or a tree. Since any impact from such handling will be directed against and resisted by the individual coils of the spring, the molding protects the flexible covering material adjacent the spring coils from such imp-act. The holding can be formed of any suitable sheet material, such as for example, aluminum, and its side edges are overlapped at 24 so as to prevent the exposure of any sharp edge.
The clamp 14 holds the squared upper end or" the spring with the first coil as previously suggested, and can be formed of any suitable sheet metal with one curled end 25 wrapped around the first coil and another curled end 26 wrapped around the upper squared end, the fiexible covering material, and the molding.
The clamp 17 is formed in a manner similar to clamp 14.
The pitch or lead of the spring is, of course, dependent upon the size of the container desired, but in any event, the spring must. have sufiicient coils to impart to the spring suflicient compression when it is in its open position to maintain the container in its upright position with a fair degree of rigidity; The spring must also not have any greater number of coils than absolutely necessary since otherwise the container when in its compressed form would be unduly bulky and heavy. The container illustrated herein is intended primarily for trash purposes at the home. To that extent, therefore, it is contemplated that it would be approximately between 4 and 5 feet in height when in its uncompressed state and on or about 2% feet in diameter. This container when compressed as shown in FIG. 4 represents a height of only about 6 inches and is maintained in this compressed form by a pair of holding clamps '27 and 28 Which can be of any convenient shape. The container in this compressed form can readily be picked up at the point of purchase, placed in a car by the purchaser, and transformed to its expanded shape by removing each of the hold-down clamps at the point of use. If, after use, it is desired to store this container either in the home or garage or any other point of use, it can once again be compressed into its FIG. 4 shape, retained in this shape by means of the clamps, and then stored or hanged upon a wall.
It will be appreciated that when the container is in its expanded position as in FIG. 1, that the flexible material retains the spring under compression and that the compressive force of this spring in this position is sufficient to retain the container in a substantially rigid state. Since the framework of the container consists of the helical spring formed of spring wire, and since the flexible material which holds the spring under compression is protected from abuse by the spring itself as well as by the holding, the container can withstand considerably more abuse and bad handling than any container formed of rigid material, such as steel or plastic. For all practical' purposes, it is almost impossible to bend any one ormore coils of the spring through normal use of of a container of this type. Even such handling as dropping or throwing the container from a truck upon pavement or any solid object such as a tree or fence will not damage the spring, and since the flexible material is protected by the molding, such treatment will also not damage the flexible material at its point of contact with the coils of the spring.
While the molding 22 is shown for preventing relative movement of a flexible covering material and the coils of the spring, it will be appreciated that other means can be employed for eifecting this same purpose. It will also be appreciated that containers of this type can be manufactured of any size desired and that there is a wide choice in the type of flexible covering material used.
What is claimed is:
1. A compressible trash container comprising a squared end helical spring, a flexible axially extending tubular covering tautly encircling the outside periphery of said spring, the axial length of said covering being less than the axial length of said spring when said spring is in its uncompressed condition, an end covering fixed to said tubular covering adjacent one end thereof for enclosing one end of said spring, the other end of said tubular covering being fixed with the other end of said spring while said spring is under compression, the compressive force of said spring being sufficient to tautly extend said covering axially to its maximum extent and to support said container in its upright position, and a molding fixed to the opposite ends of said spring, said molding in cross section having a bead formed therein, the outside diameter of said bead being substantially equal to the outside diameter of the wire forming said spring, said molding being Wound around the exterior of said container in the path of the coils of said spring and so positioned that the wire along with the adjacent flexible material of said covering is firmly received in said head, said molding preventing relative movement of said covering with reference to the coils of said spring while acting as a bumper for protecting the flexible material from impact, said eontainer being relatively light in weight and compressible for ease of storage and transport.
2. The container defined in claim 1 further characterized by said end covering being formed of fiexible material and a plurality of cross members being extended across said end covering and fixed with the first mentioned end of said spring for preventing abrasive wear of said end covering.
3. The container defined in claim 2 further characterized by the respective ends of said spring being in the form of vertically aligned, outwardly extending handles.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 207,658 Hawkes Sept. 3, 1878 216,227 Sedgwick June 3, 1879 938,431 Orcutt Oct. 26, 1909 1,454,388 Lauren May 8, 1923 1,583,083 Macaraig May 4, 1926 1,928,976 Grasso Oct. 3, 1933 2,042,288 Bach et al. May 26, 1936 2,224,537 Cowan Dec. 10, 1940 2,337,374 Chernack Dec. 21, 1943 2,763,292 Rejeski Sept. 18, 1956
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