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Publication numberUS3394861 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date30 Jul 1968
Filing date23 Feb 1967
Priority date23 Feb 1967
Publication numberUS 3394861 A, US 3394861A, US-A-3394861, US3394861 A, US3394861A
InventorsTruax James R
Original AssigneeJames R. Truax
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiple compartment container
US 3394861 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 30, 1968 J. R. TRUAX 3,394,861

MULT IPLE COMPARTMENT CONTAINER Filed Feb. 23. 1967 AMES RUAX F! 5'. .5

BY MMMWB taddaok ads/um? 147' Tanner:

United States Patent 3,394,861 MULTIPLE COMPARTMENT CONTAINER James R. Truax, 3717 Vera Cruz Ave., Crystal, Minn. 55422 Filed Feb. 23, 1967, Ser. No. 617,995 8 Claims. (Cl. 229-) 'ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A container with multiple compartments having an interior partition common to two of the compartments. The interior partition terminates below the top of the peripheral wall of the container and cooperates with a flat member which is firmly adhered to the interior of the peripheral wall and to the top of the interior partition to form a substantially planar surface. A peelable sealing member is bonded to the upper side of the flat member, and a cover member is positioned atop the peelable seal in tight frictional engagement with the top of the peripheral wall.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to enclosed containers, and more particularly to multi-compartment containers adapted to receive a peelable sealing material to form sealed compartments therein.

Many containers have been developed which contain multiple compartments and a ledge or flange to which a peelable sealing material can be bonded to seal the compartments. Such containers have also been constructed of thermoplastic materials, such as polyethylene. Such containers, however, have generally been manufactured by deforming a flat blank of thermoplastic material to form the compartments which have entirely separate walls connected by a horizontal flange. While such containers are adequate for some purposes, insuflicient strength is provided in both the side walls and flange to make the containers useful for holding large amounts of relatively heavy material. For example, no such containers have been discovered which are strong enough to hold several ounces each of different kinds of jellies, cheeses, peanut butters, etc.

Others have provided containers with multiple, common-walled compartments within them, but such containers have not previously been adapted to receive a peelable sealing material cooperating with a recessed flange to maintain the quality and freshness of the material in such a container better than it can be maintained by snap-on or screw-on covers.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION The invention disclosed herein overcomes the prior art difficulties and provides a container which is adapted to receive a peelable seal and which is large enough to contain several ounces, or even pounds, of material in each compartment. Generally, the container of the invention has a bottom, a peripheral wall, and an interior partition integral with the bottom and peripheral wall. The interior partition terminates below the top of the peripheral wall. A separate fiat member is firmly adhered to the interior of the peripheral wall and to the top of the interior partition to form a substantially planar surface within the container. The planar surface of the flat member is adapted to cooperate with peelable sealing material to form a tight seal over the compartments within the container. The flat member defines apertures which are substantially centered over each of the compartments within the container for access thereto. The upper surface of the fiat member is disposed below the top of the peripheral wall of the container so that a cover member can be placed 3,394,861 Patented July 30, 1968 in frictional engagement with the top portion of the peripheral wall. The cover member is removable and replaceable in position to keep the material contained within the container fresh after the peelable seal is removed and to provide a recessed central area on top of the compartment-s which is of suflicient strength so that a series of the containers may be stacked upon one another.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention can be best described with reference to FIGURES 1 through 3. A container, generally designated 10, is shown having a bottom 11 and an upwardly extending peripheral Wall generally designated 12 which has an uppermost portion 13 offset outwardly from the remainder of wall 12 to form a horizontal ledge 14 on the interior side of wall 12. Container 10 also includes at least a first partition 15 which is integral with bottom 11 and peripheral wall 12. Interior partition 15 terminates below the top of uppermost wall portion 13 at a height substantially coplanar with ledge 14. Interior partition 15, as here shown, forms a substantially straight vertical common wall dividing the interior of container 10 into two compartments 16 and 17 of substantially equal size. Container 10 may be formed of any number of suitable materials, but is preferably made of injection molded thermoplastic material; for example, polyethylene. The relative sizes of compartments 16 and 17 can be adjusted by changing the shape of the mold to any desired configuration.

A separate, substantially flat member 18 is positioned on top of ledge 14 and on the top of interior partition 15. Member 18 is preferably made of material identical to that used for container 10. Member 18 is secured to the interior of container 10 by heat bonding or an adhesive. Member 18 forms a flange which extends inwardly from the wall-s of compartments 16 and 17. The flange edges are defined by a pair of generally rectangular apertures 19 and 20 extending through flat member 18. Apertures 19 and 20 are slightly smaller than the area of compartments 16 and 17 immediately below them and have the center of each aperture substantially overlying the center of the compartment below it. Flat member 18 has a substantially planar upper surface which lies below the top of peripheral wall 12.

The upper surface of member 18 is adapted to cooperate with a peelable sealing material 21 to form a seal over compartments 16 and 17. Peelable seal material 21 has an upwardly extending tab 22 on one side. When the material 21 is in place atop flat member 18, tab 22 is positioned adjacent uppermost wall portion 13, but tab 22 is not bonded to portion 13 so it is movable with respect thereto. Material 21 is firmly bonded to the upper surface of flat member 18 by either heat sealing or an adhesive material. The bonding processes and materials are well known. Tab 22 is adapted to be clasped by the user of the container and pulled upwardly and/or inwardly away from peripheral wall 12 to peel sealing material 21 from the upper surface of flat member 18. j

The container of FIGURES 1 through 3 is completed with the provision of a removable and reusable cover member, generally designated 23. Cover member 23 includes a peripheral portion 24 which is adapted to firmly frictionally engage the exterior of the upper wall portion 13. Peripheral portion 24 is connected to a recessed central portion 25 by an intermediate portion 26. Central portion 25 is downwardly recessed from the top of uppermost wall portion 13 by an amount sufficient to allow its lower surface to contact the upper surface of sealing material 21 when cover member 23 is firmly seated on the uppermost wall portion 13. Central portion 25 covers substantially the entire area interior to uppermost wall portion 13. Intermediate portion 26 is constructed to firmly engage the upper interior and top of uppermost wall portion 13. Portions 24 and 26 cooperate with uppermost wall portion 13 to frictionally retain cover member 23 on container 10. Cover member 23 is preferably constructed of the same material as that utilized for the remainder of the container assembly.

It should be noted that peripheral wall 12 of container preferably extends slightly outwardly as well as upwardly from bottom 11 and that uppermost wall portion 13 is offset outwardly a sufiicient distance so that the upper surface area of central portion of cover member 23 is at least as large as the exterior surface area of bottom 11. In that manner, a stackable construction is obtained and a plurality of composite container and cover members may be stacked upon one another in a manner reducing the likelihood of tipping or sliding relative to one another.

It is readily apparent that container 10 and cover 23 may be constructed of wax paper, cardboard, or any number of other suitable materials as well as thermoplastics. Thermoplastics are generally preferred because they are cheap, strong and readily susceptible to heat sealing processes.

FIGURE 4 discloses a modified container, generally designated 30, utilizing the inventive principles. Container 30 has a generally circular bottom 31 integral with an upwardly extending peripheral wall, generally designated 32, which has an uppermost portion 33 offset outwardly from the remainder of peripheral wall 32. Container 30 also has a plurality of interior partitions 34, 35 and 36 which are integral with bottom 31 and peripheral wall 22. Partitions 34, 35 and 36 terminate below the top of peripheral wall 32 at a height coplanar with the bottom of outwardly offset uppermost wall portion 33. A fiat member 37 is disposed within container 30. Its lower surface is in contact with the top of interior partitions 34, 35 and 36. Its periphery is in contact with the interior of peripheral wall 32. Flat member 37 is firmly adhered to both the interior of wall 32 and the top of interior partitions 34, 35 and 36. Flat member 37 has three apertures 38, 39 and 40 therethrough and forms a flange extending inwardly from the walls of each of three compartments defined within container 30.

Container 30 is adapted to receive a peelable sealing material on top of flat member 37 in the same manner as container 10 in FIGURES 1 through 3. Container 30 is further adapted to receive a cover member similar to that shown in FIGURES 1 through 3.

It can be readily seen that many variations are possible within the scope of this invention. Any number of desired interior partitions may be used to form separated compartments having a common wall within the container. The replaceable cover member need not have a recessed central portion when there is no problem of containers sliding off of one another or tipping when stacked. Such a cover is retained by frictional engagement with only the exterior uppermost portion of the peripheral wall. A container having such a cover member does have an advantage if it is desired that the uppermost container not be lifted upward when removing it from the stack. However, containers having such cover members do suffer from the disadvantages that less structural support is provided immediately over the peelable sealin material, thereby making the sealing material more susceptible to rupture if the container is tipped or dropped.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In a container having a bottom, an upwardly extending peripheral wall and a first interior partition integral with the bottom and peripheral wall forming a common wall of two separate compartments in the container, the improvement comprising:

the first partition terminating at a height below the top of the peripheral wall; and

a separate substantially flat member firmly adhered to the interior of the peripheral wall and the top of the first partition and forming a flange extending inwardly from the walls of each compartment, the fiat member having a substantially planar upper surface recessed below the top of the peripheral wall adapted to cooperate with a peelable sealing material to form a seal over the compartments.

2. A container according to claim 1 wherein:

the peripheral wall has an uppermost portion offset outwardly from the remainder thereof to form a substantially horizontal ledge on the interior side of the peripheral wall; and

the flat member rests on and is firmly adhered to the ledge.

3. The container of claim 1 further comprises:

a peelable sealing material bonded to the upper surface of the flat member and completely covering the top of the compartments, the sealing material having an upwardly extending tab adjacent a portion of the peripheral wall and movable with respect thereto, the tab being adapted to be grasped and pulled thereby causing the sealing material to be peeled from the fiat member.

4. The container of claim 3 wherein:

the bottom first partition and peripheral wall are injection molded thermoplastic;

the flat member is thermoplastic; and

the sealing material is thermoplastic.

5. The container of claim 3 which further comprises:

a removable and reusable cover member having a downwardly extending peripheral portion adapted to firmly engage the exterior of the peripheral wall, a downwardly recessed central portion adapted to contact the upper surface of the sealing material over substantially the entire area interior to the peripheral wall, and an intermediate portion connecting the central and peripheral portions adapted to firmly engage the upper interior and top of the peripheral wall.

6. The container of claim 5 wherein:

the bottom, peripheral wall and first partition are injection molded thermoplastic;

the sealing material, fiat member and cover member are thermoplastic;

the bottom is rectangular;

the peripheral wall slants outwardly as well as upwardly from the bottom and has an uppermost portion offset outwardly from the remainder thereof to form a substantially horizontal ledge on the interior side of the peripheral wall;

the first partition forms a substantially straight vertical wall dividing the interior of the container into two compartments of substantially equal size; and

the fiat member rests on and is firmly adhered to the ledge and has a pair of substantially rectangular apertures therethrough positioned so that one aperture overlies each compartment with the center of the aperture substantially overlying the center of the compartment.

7. A container according to claim 1 which further comprises:

at least one additional interior partition integral with the bottom, peripheral wall, and first partition forming a common wall of two separate compartments so that the container has at least three separate compartments therein, the additional partition terminating at a height coplanar with the top of the first partition and being firmly adhered to the flat member.

8. A container according to claim 1 wherein:

the bottom is rectangular;

the peripheral wall slants outwardly as well as upwardly from the bottom;

the first partition forms a substantially straight vertical wall dividing the interior of the container into two compartments of substantially equal size; and

the flat member has a pair of substantially rectangular apertures therethrough positioned so that one aperture overlies each compartment with the center of the aperture substantially overlying the center of the compartment.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Smith.

Barclay 229-43 Fredette et al. 220-29 XR Ringlen 22943 XR Rosner 220-22 Kopp 220-20 XR Betner 22054 Eckman 220-29 Schechter 99-171 XR Huston 22097 Amberg 22943 Bostrom 22029 DAVIS T. MOORHEAD, Primary Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification229/120.7, D07/629, 229/125.5, 229/123.1, 426/123, 220/258.2, 220/359.1, 220/256.1, 220/555, 426/120
International ClassificationB65D51/18, B65D77/20, B65D77/10, B65D51/20, B65D25/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2543/00092, B65D2251/0093, B65D2543/00101, B65D25/04, B65D51/20, B65D2251/0018, B65D2577/205
European ClassificationB65D51/20, B65D25/04