Title:
Floral container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floral container having a substantially rigid outer cylindrical member with a bottom planar surface. A plurality of flexible foamed plastic members having the same overall cylindrical shape as the cylindrical member are stacked and secured together forming an insert body which is mounted in the chamber of the cylindrical member. Each of the flexible foamed plastic members defines a throughgoing substantially circular cutout of a different size with a defined tooth assembly extending inward toward the center point of each substantially circular cutout. The foamed plastic member cutouts being axially aligned with cutouts of an adjacent foamed plastic member to form a stepped bore which can hold various sized articles.



Inventors:
Castleberry, Wayne Jackson (Richmond, VA, US)
Application Number:
09/885087
Publication Date:
12/26/2002
Filing Date:
06/21/2001
Assignee:
CASTLEBERRY WAYNE JACKSON
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
47/65.5, 206/523
International Classes:
B65D81/02; B65D85/50; B65D85/52; (IPC1-7): B65D85/52
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John S. Hale (McLean, VA, US)
Claims:

What I claim is:



1. A floral container for holding varying size articles, comprising: a substantially rigid tub member, a foam insert member frictionally mounted in said tub member, said insert member defining a plurality of stepped cavities adapted to receive and hold articles in a fixed position

2. A floral container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said tub is inclined outward from its base to its top from 1° to 5°.

3. A floral container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said tub is inclined outward from its base to its top from about 3°.

4. A floral container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said insert member comprises a plurality of section members, stacked on each other with an outside dimension greater than inside dimension of said tub member, each section member defining a cutout which is axially aligned with a cutout of an adjacent section member to form a stepped cavity.

5. A floral container as claimed in claim 4 wherein said cutouts are generally circular with each section member comprises a body defining a cutout having a smaller diameter than the cutout of the section member stacked above it and each said body defines a plurality of spaced teeth which extend inward toward the center of said circular cutout.

6. A floral container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said substantially rigid tub member defines a plurality of feet projecting outward from an outward wall of said tub member.

7. A floral container, comprising: a rigid cylindrical container defining an interior chamber, a foam insert mounted in said container chamber defining a plurality of axially aligned substantially circular bores forming step portions, with the diameter of each step portion decreasing from the diameter of the step portion positioned above it, each step portion including teeth means extending inwardly toward the center of said bore.

8. A floral container as claimed in claim 7 wherein said teeth means are a plurality of spaced teeth members, each of said teeth members being tapered with a base which is wider then its distal end, said distal end defining a curved outer end surface.

9. A floral container as claimed in claim 8 wherein said teeth members are spaced by notched cutouts.

10. A floral container as claimed in claim 7 wherein said foam insert is cylindrical with an outer diameter which is greater than the inner diameter of said rigid cylindrical container.

11. A floral container as claimed in claim 7 wherein insert comprises a plurality of stacked secured section members, each section member defining a plurality of bores that are axially aligned when stacked upon each other.

12. A floral container as claimed in claim 11 wherein said plurality of section members comprises two stacked secured together cylindrical section members, each of said section members defining a cutout which is axially aligned when the section members are stacked with each cutout having a diameter less than the cutout of the stacked member positioned above it, said section member having the same diameter.

13. A floral container as claimed in claim 11 wherein each of said section members is constructed of polyurethane foam.

14. A floral container as claimed in claim 11 wherein each section member defines a plurality of teeth extending into said cutout with each upper section member being provided with more teeth than the section member beneath it.

15. A floral container as claimed in claim 7 wherein said rigid container has a top which is flanged outward.

16. A floral container as claimed in claim 11 wherein said section members are constructed of a foamed plastic.

17. A floral container assembly, comprising: a substantially rigid container member with a bottom planar surface, an integrally formed substantially cylindrical wall which tapers outward from the base to the top from 1° to 5° forming a container chamber, a plurality of flexible foamed plastic members having the same overall exterior shape as the container member but being slightly greater in diameter than the interior diameter of said cylindrical wall, stacked together to form an insert body which is mounted in said container chamber and held thereon by the force of the insert body engaging an inner surface of said cylindrical wall, each of said flexible foamed plastic members defining a throughgoing cutout with a tooth assembly formed around said cutout extending inward toward the center axis of each cutout, each cutout being axially aligned with a cutout of an adjacent positioned foamed plastic member to form a stepped bore.

18. A floral container assembly as claimed in claim 17 wherein each cutout is circular and the number of teeth in said tooth assembly range from 6 to 12 teeth with each higher positioned plastic member in said rigid container chamber having a greater number of teeth than the adjacent lower plastic member.

19. A floral container assembly as claimed in claim 17 wherein said substantially rigid tub member defines a plurality of feet projecting outward from an outward wall of said tub member.

20. A floral container assembly as claimed in claim 17 wherein said rigid container has a top which is flanged outward.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a container for transporting articles and is specifically directed toward a floral container.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] There are a number of major problems encountered in providing for the shipment of cut and live flowers and plants and other articles in that the vases, pots, baskets, and receptacles holding same must be securely held in an upright position during shipment from the florist to the final destination and kept from tilting, tipping over or breaking. Since floral shipments are of different sizes and have different configurations of vases and pots, it is difficult to keep floral containers in different sizes much less providing for carriers and containers for same during transit to prevent damage to the plants, flowers and receptacles. Since delivery personnel are generally part time or unskilled workers with little to no experience in handling delicate shipments and may have minimal job dedication, there is a need to have shipping containers which can be easily handled by the florist and/or delivery personnel to prevent tipping and breakage of the floral product during transit as well as providing for stable storage of same prior to presentation.

[0003] The prior art discloses several examples of containers used for floral transport. As an example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,204 discloses a transport container for fragile articles having a substantially rigid base member with a bottom planar surface. A plurality of flexible foamed plastic members having the same overall shape as the base member are stacked and secured together forming a container body which is secured to the base member. Each of the flexible foamed plastic members define a plurality of throughgoing substantially circular cutouts with a tooth assembly for each cutout extending inward toward the center point of each substantially circular cutout. The foamed plastic member cutouts axially are aligned with cutouts of an adjacent foamed plastic member to form a stepped bore which can hold various sized articles.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,115,915 is directed toward a shipping container of cardboard which holds a pot in place inside the container. The floral arrangement is placed in a pot filled with a block of foamed potting medium and the flowers are held in the container by a foam block disposed above the medium block. U.S. Pat. No. 4,958,461 is directed toward a floral holder which includes a bucket and a lid which is shaped and dimensioned to removably fit on the bucket. The lid is formed with a number of spaced apart openings communicating with a plurality of sleeves secured to and extending downward from the lid projecting inside the bucket. In U.S. Pat. No. 2,486,932 a flower holder container having a bottom wall and a cylindrical side wall is disclosed. The inner surface of the cylindrical side wall of the container is formed with a plurality of peripherally spaced inwardly extending vertical flanges. Each flange is provided with several shoulders which are progressively offset toward the center of the container to form ledges for supporting one or more disc shaped shelves which have notches of a radial depth to seat on specific shoulders of the flanges. The disc shelves can hold flowers or a flower pot in registration with the top of the container.

[0005] Other containers having foam bodies to receive and hold products are known in the art.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 4,640,418 discloses a container body made of a resilient foam having a plurality of throughgoing cylindrical bores of an identical diameter suitable to receive and protect a selected size of stacked ice cream cones. A secondary body of a small thickness with axially aligned throughgoing cylindrical bores of the same diameter as the bores in the container body is pressed flush against the top of the containers body to protect the top of the stack of cones. Only one size of cones is carried by the container. Planar cover members are then placed on the bottom of the container body and the top of the secondary body to form a closed container which is then placed in cardboard carton.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,390,791 discloses a portable solid polyethylene medicine carrier and protector for storing and transporting medicine stored in vials. The cavity is formed from a plurality of different semi-circular compartments, each of the compartments has a different cross-sectional radius. A plurality of solid ribbed members are disposed transversely in the cavity to prevent direct contact between the carrier and the medicine vials. The ribbed members are made from a solid strip of the material used to form the carrier. The device is an open face container defining a cavity with ribs formed along the side walls of the cavity transverse to the length of the container to hold medicine vials away from the side walls of the container.

[0008] The prior art does not solve the problem of transporting and storing individual floral presentations in disposable containers which are able to be seated in a stable condition on a flat horizontal surface.

[0009] The present invention solves the above problems in a manner not disclosed in the known prior art.

SUMMARY OF TIE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention is directed toward a plastic outer container or tub with a foam removable insert defining a plurality of stepped cavities of decreasing diameter which receive and hold floral displays in a fixed stable position. The foam insert is kept in the outer container through the foam compression/expansion against the inner wall of the outer container thus precluding the necessity of gluing the insert. A plurality of teeth or fingers extend from the container body into the stepped cavities.

[0011] A need exists for a low cost floral container that can be easily stored, absorbs impact shock and when used provides a stable platform for the item which it carries. Institutional or commercial purchasers buy containers in large quantities and typically need to store them in a storage area until needed. The present invention has a removable insert allowing the same to be shipped and stored separately if desired or used for the particular type of product with an easy loading and handling capability. The floral container of the present invention solves these problems and provides institutions with a convenient, high quality alternative to containers which had previously been available to them.

[0012] It is an object of the invention to provide a floral container which can selectively hold and secure fragile articles having different sizes.

[0013] It is another object of the present invention to provide a floral container which absorbs shocks without transmitting the shock force to the article being carried.

[0014] It is yet another object of this invention to provide large volume purchasers with a floral container that is highly compact and one that can be easily stored and transported.

[0015] Yet another object of this invention is to provide a device that can be quickly and easily loaded with the floral product and transported by a single unskilled person.

[0016] In the accompanying drawings, there is shown an illustrative embodiment of the invention from which these and other objectives, novel features and advantages will be readily apparent.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the floral container;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the floral container shown in FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the floral container shown in FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the floral container shown in FIG. 1; and

[0021] FIG. 5 shows a cross sectional view taken along line 5′-5′ of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0022] The best mode and the preferred embodiment of the novel floral container apparatus of the present invention is shown generally in FIGS. 1 through 5.

[0023] FIG. 1 illustrates the floral container 10 with a foam insert 20 for holding a vase (not shown) containing flowers or another arrangement for delivery. The floral container has a outer container or tub 11 of strong impervious plastic such as polypropylene or polyethylene with a planar bottom 12, an integral cylindrical side wall 14 which is tapered outward from 1° to 5°, preferably 3° from the base to the top, stabilizer feet 16 which extend outward from the side wall 14 and a top outwardly curved flange 18 which serves as a lifting rim. The stabilizer feet 16 as seen in FIGS. 1-3 are arcuate and are curved downward to allow shipping personnel to hold the floral container while it is being carried and the planar bottoms of the feet which are located on the same plane as bottom 12 allow the floral container to be stabilized when set down for seating on the bed of a truck or van or floor or ground in order to form a stable platform which is substantially tip proof The feet 16 have a planar bottom surface with about a 4 inch base and a curved front extending about 1 inch from the tub circumference and extending away from the base and side wall 14. An insert member 20 provided with a plurality of cutouts section 22 and 24 is inserted in the tub chamber. Polyurethane has been selected for the cutout sections because it can absorb shock through the flexible cell structure of the material allowing the floral product to be stable when handled and lifted. The insert 20 is formed with a series of container section members 22 and 24 preferably formed of an absorbent polyurethane foam and ranging from 3 to 3½ inches to 2 inches to 2½ inches respectively in thickness or are stacked upon each other and secured to each other to form a unified cylindrical construction. The bottom section member 22 is preferably thicker than the upper section member 24. The section members 22 and 24 are flexible because of the cell structure of the polyurethane foam which allows the insert 20 to absorb shock when struck or moved without causing the floral container to tip over or the shock force to be transmitted to the article being carried therein while still holding the article in a stable condition In addition, the container section members 22 and 24 are constructed of an absorbent foam material which allows them to absorb spillage of water or to be pre loaded with water or a growing medium to keep plants in a fresh stable condition. The tub 11 keeps water or growing medium contained within the container. Each of the section members defines a throughgoing substantially circular cutouts 26 which together define a cylindrical stepped bore or cavity 28. Each of the cutouts 26 defines inwardly extending spaced fingers, teeth or ribs 30 extending inward toward the center of the circular cutout. The circumference of each cutout 26 is located about one inch or more from the inside surface 15 of wall 14 to absorb shock and protect the floral and/or plant arrangement.

[0024] The bottom insert section member 22 of the insert 20 is preferably formed with a body 23 having a cylindrical configuration with a side wall 220, a top planar surface 222 and a bottom planar surface 224. The body 23 preferably defines six equally spaced teeth 226 positioned around the circumference of a cutout 26 cut through the body extending inward toward the center axis of the cutout 26. Each tooth 226 has a top planar surface 228, tapered side walls 230 and an end wall 232 extending inward from the circumference of the cutout from ¾ of an inch to 1 inch The teeth 226 define a tapered notch 227 between each pair of teeth. The tapered notches 227 spacing adjacent teeth and are cut have a base portion 229 which is wider then the width of the end opening 231 and are substantially mirror images of the teeth 226.

[0025] An upper second stacked insert section member 24 is formed with a body 25 having a cylindrical configuration the same diameter as that of the body 23 section member 22, a side wall 240, a top planar surface 242 and a bottom planar surface 244. The body 25 defines circular cutout 26 and twelve equally spaced teeth 246 positioned around the circumference of cutout 26 a cut through the body extending inwardly toward the center axis of the cutout 26a. Each tooth 246 has a top planar surface 248, tapered side walls 250 and a end surface 252 which extends inward 1 inch to 1½ inch from the circumference of the cutout toward the center axis of the cutout cavity. The teeth 246 define a tapered notch 247 between each pair of teeth with the base of the notch being 1 inch and the top opening of the notch being ¾ inch. The center point of the circular cutout of insert section member 24 is axially aligned with the center points of the circular cutout of insert section insert section member 24 and the notches 247 are positioned over the teeth 226 so that the notches and teeth of both insert section member 22 and insert member 24 are staggered when viewed from the top plan view with end surface 252 of teeth 246 being adjacent notch base portions 229. The bottom insert section 22 and the top insert section 24 form a seat for a floral vase. The outer diameter of both cylindrical section members 22 and 24 are preferably greater than the inner diameter of tub 11. Thus, the section members are compressed when forced into the tub cavity and held in place by the outward expansion forces of foam against the inner wall surface of the tub holding the insert firmly in place thus precluding the use of glue or adhesive on the tub wall and foam surface. Tearing is thus minimalized of the foam insert while the pull out forces of the floral arrangement are overcome by the expansion force and friction of the insert against the inner wall of the tub.

[0026] While the preferred embodiment uses a cylindrical insert, other geometrically arranged inserts as for example, square cutouts and rectangular cutouts could be used.

[0027] The principles, preferred embodiments and modes of operation of the present invention have been described in the foregoing specification. However, the invention should not be construed as limited to the particular embodiments which have been described above. Instead, the embodiments described here should be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Variations and changes may be made by others without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims: