Title:
Pizza box with seat leveling structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A leveling flap is positioned along the bottom of a pizza box. The leveling flap can be positioned so that it extends from the bottom of the pizza box. When the pizza box is placed upon an angled car seat, the leveling flap keeps the box level. The distance of the leveling flap from the bottom of the pizza box is adjustable to accommodate car seats with different angles.



Inventors:
Dewolfe, Gary (Worcester, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/202649
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF BRETT N. DORNY (NORTHBOROUGH, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle, wherein the box has at least a bottom surface, the structure comprising: a substantially planar flap, having dimensions no greater than corresponding dimensions of the bottom surface, wherein the flap has a first edge, at least one tab extending from the flap along an edge opposite to the first edge, and at least one crease parallel to and spaced from the first edge, wherein the first edge of the flap is attachable to the box so that the flap extends along the bottom surface; and at least one receptor formed in the bottom surface of the box positioned so as to be covered by the flap extending along the bottom surface, wherein the receptor is sized to accommodate the tap of the flap.

2. The structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the box is a pizza box.

3. The structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the first edge is positioned along an edge of the bottom surface.

4. The structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the at least one receptor includes a plurality of receptors at different distances from the first edge of the flap.

5. The structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the flap further includes a plurality of creases, each of which is parallel to the first edge.

6. The structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle according to claim 1, wherein when the at least one tab is placed within at least one receptor, the flap bends at the crease and provides a surface along the crease which is spaced apart from the bottom of the box.

7. A method for leveling a box, the box having a bottom surface and a flap attached along one end and positioned along the bottom surface, the flap having a tab opposite the one end and a crease parallel to the one end, the method comprising the steps of: folding the flap along the crease line; and positioning portions of the flap at different angles, so that it extends away from the bottom surface at the crease.

8. The method for leveling a box according to claim 7, wherein the positioning step includes positioning the flap into a selected one of several positions, each of the positions providing a different distance for the crease from the bottom surface.

9. The method for leveling a box according to claim 7, wherein the box is a pizza box.

10. A structure for leveling a box when placed on an angled seat of a vehicle, the structure comprising: an extension member; at least one hinge connected to one edge of the extension member and attachable to the bottom of the box; and a hinge support releasably holding the hinge at a first position wherein the extension member is positioned along the bottom of the box and at a second position wherein the extension member extends from the bottom of the box.

11. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 10, wherein the extension member is a wire.

12. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 11, wherein the wire has a U shape.

13. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 11, wherein the wire has a W shape.

14. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 10, wherein the extension member is a piece of corrugated cardboard.

15. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 10, wherein the hinge support releaseably holds the hinge at a third position wherein the extension member extends from the bottom of the box at an angle different from an angle of the second position.

16. The structure for leveling a box according to claim 10, wherein the hinge includes an adhesive for attaching the structure to the box.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/117,664, filed Apr. 28, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to pizza boxes. More particularly, it relates to a pizza box having an integrated structure for leveling the pizza on a car seat.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Pizza has become an increasingly popular food item both in the United States and in many other parts of the world. Nutritionally, pizza has many advantages since its taste is widely popular and, in a single food item, it can provide many necessary nutrients, including complex carbohydrates, vegetables, milk products and proteins. Pizza are often made in commercial establishments with dedicated ovens for cooking this type of food. However, when a person wishes to eat the pizza at home, getting it can be problematic. Typically, the person can have the pizza delivered or can pick it up. In either case, the pizza box is placed in a vehicle, often on the seat, for transport. For the comfort of the occupants, car seats are tilted up at the front. Placing the pizza box on the seat tilts the box and can cause the pizza or the toppings to shift towards one side of the box and ruin it appeal.

Several devices have been developed to keep a pizza box level on a tilted seat. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,253,791, 5,611,287, and 6,851,589 disclose various separate devices for leveling a load on a car seat, such as for a pizza box. Each of these devices has an angled structure which is placed on the seat. The top surface of the device it then level for holding the pizza box. While such devices may be useful for delivery vehicles which regularly transport pizzas, they are less useful for individual pickup. The device must either be stored in the car or located before going to the pizza establishment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a structure integral with a pizza box to level the box on a seat. The structure is formed as a flap in the bottom of the box. The flap can be moved from a first position in which it is co-planer with the bottom of the pizza box to a second position in which it extends from the bottom of the pizza box. When the pizza box is placed on a car seat, the structure operates to hold the back part of the pizza box away from the seat to keep the pizza level.

According to another aspect of the invention, the structure can be moved to various positions each of which extends a different distance from the bottom of the pizza box. In this manner, the structure can be used to level a pizza box on car seats having different angles.

According to another aspect of the invention, the structure includes slots in the pizza box and a tab on the flap for positioning the structure. According to another aspect of the invention, the structure includes a wire structure positionable to extend from the pizza box. According to another aspect of the invention, the structure includes a mechanism for holding the structure in an extended position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a bottom view of a pizza box according to an embodiment of the present invention with the leveling structure in a co-planer position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bottom of a pizza box according to an embodiment of the present invention with the structure in a first extended position.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bottom of a pizza box according to an embodiment of the present invention with the leveling structure in a second extended position.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of a pizza box according to a second embodiment of the present invention with a leveling structure in a co-planer position.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a pizza box according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pizza box according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a structure formed as part of the bottom of a standard pizza box. Pizza boxes are typically formed of corrugated cardboard. They have top and bottom surfaces, with four upstanding sides between them. The box is formed from a single sheet of corrugated cardboard, perforated and creased to allow the box to be formed. The sides are formed from the bottom of the box. The top is attached to the back side of the box and includes a flap opposite. The flap is positioned within the front side to close the box. The box is sized to hold a whole pizza. Typically, the pizza is placed upon a circle formed of corrugated cardboard which is placed with the pizza in the box.

FIG. 1 is a bottom view of a pizza box 1 incorporating a first embodiment of the present invention. A leveling flap 10 of corrugated cardboard is positioned along the bottom of the box and attached to the box along a first edge 11. According to the first embodiment, the first edge 11 of the leveling flap 10 is preferably glued to the bottom 2 of the pizza box. However, it may be attached in any known manner. Alternatively, it may be attached to a side of the pizza box and folded so as to be positioned along the bottom. According to this embodiment, the leveling flap 10 has a width 12 less than that of the pizza box. It should be wide enough to provide stability to the box when placed on a car seat, as described below. The length 13 is also less than the length of the pizza box so that the leveling flap 10 can lay flat along the bottom of the pizza box and not extend beyond the sides.

The leveling flap 10 also includes a crease 14 across its width, parallel to the first edge 11, so that it can be folded as described below. It includes a tab 15 which extends opposite to the first edge 11. The bottom 2 of the pizza box 1 includes one or more elongated holes 3, 4 (illustrated in dashed form in FIG. 1) sized to accommodate the tab 15.

In order to keep the pizza box level on a car seat, the leveling flap 10 is positioned to extend from the bottom of the pizza box 1. The leveling flap 10 is folded along the crease 14 and the tab 15 is inserted in one of the elongated holes 3, 4 in the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. A first portion 20 of the leveling flap 10 angles away from the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1 at the first edge 11 to the crease 14. A second portion 21 of the leveling flap 10 angles from the crease 14 to the tab 15 and elongated hole 3, 4. The choice of elongated hole 3, 4 into which the tab 15 is inserted determines the angles of the portions 20, 21 of the leveling flap 10 and the distance of the folded crease 14 from the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1. FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the leveling flap 10 at different positions. In this manner, the leveling flap can be used to maintain the pizza box 1 level on car seats with different angles.

The first embodiment described above discloses a leveling flap 10 which is separate but attached to the pizza box 1. According to another embodiment of the invention not shown in the figures, the leveling flap 10 is formed as a portion of the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1. It can be partially cut during the box forming process so that it can be extended as needed. The first embodiment of the invention also discloses a single tab 15 in the center of the leveling flap 10. Two or more tabs may be positioned along the edge of the leveling flap.

The first embodiment of the invention, described above, requires slots to be cut in the bottom of the pizza box. Thus, a special box is required, even if the flap 10 is an additional piece attached to the bottom of the pizza box. A second embodiment of the invention, shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, provides a leveling structure which can be easily added to an ordinary pizza box. In this embodiment, the leveling structure includes a wire 110 moveably attached to the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1. Preferably, the wire 110 is formed in a shape which can support a pizza box 1 and the enclosed pizza. A simple U shape may be sufficient, depending upon the strength of the wire. Alternatively, a W shape, as illustrated in FIG. 4, can provide additional strength and allow a thinner wire. The wire 110 is attached to the pizza box 1 with a hinge structure 115, so that it can be rotated from a position flat against the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1 to a position extending from the pizza box 1. FIG. 5 illustrates the wire 110 in the extended position. Various mechanisms can be used to hold the wire 110 in the extended position. The hinge structure 115 may have limited motion. The hinge structure 115 may also include a detent to hold the wire 110 in different positions. The hinge structure 115 may include a support plate similar to a kick stand for a bicycle. These mechanisms are identified only by way of example. Any mechanism can be used to hold the wire in the proper positions.

FIG. 6 illustrates a third embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, a flap 210 is formed of corrugated cardboard. Similar to the second embodiment, the flap 210 is moveably attached to the bottom 2 of a pizza box with a hinge structure 215. The hinge structure 215 operates to maintain the flap 210 in an extended position, as illustrated in FIG. 6. Additionally, the hinge structure allows the flap 210 to be positioned flat on the bottom 2 of the pizza box 1.

In any of the embodiments of the invention, the leveling structure can be included as part of the pizza box, or can be separately attachable to the pizza box. An attachable version allows the leveling structure to be included only on boxes when likely to be needed for in a car.

Having disclosed at least one embodiment of the present invention, various adaptations, modifications, additions, and improvements will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Such adaptations, modifications, additions and improvements are considered part of the invention which is only limited by the several claims attached hereto.