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Publication numberUS3498470 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date3 Mar 1970
Filing date2 Nov 1967
Priority date2 Nov 1967
Publication numberUS 3498470 A, US 3498470A, US-A-3498470, US3498470 A, US3498470A
InventorsThomas Donald J
Original AssigneeBurger Chef Systems Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Serving tray with integral cup holder
US 3498470 A
Images(1)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 3, 1970 D. J. THOMAS 3,493,470

SERVING TRAY WITH INTEGRAL CUP HOLDER Filed Nov. 2, 1967 A3 DONALD .J. mom/ s United States Patent 3,498,470 SERVING TRAY WITH INTEGRAL CUP HOLDER Donald J. Thomas, Town and Country, Mo., assignor to Burger Chef Systems, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., a colporation of Indiana Filed Nov. 2, 1967, Ser. No. 680,191 Int. Cl. A47g 19/06, 23/06 US. Cl. 211-74 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to serving trays, and more particularly to a food dispensing tray which includes a cup holder.

Serving trays which are subdivided to receive various sizes of dishes are relatively old in the art. Such subdivisions are, however, intended to keep the various dishes separate rather than to hold the dishes in place. The various forms of compartmentalized trays presently used on airlines are good examples.

Serving trays are usually in use at drive-in eating establishments where the customer either makes his purchase inside the restaurant area and then carries the food and drink to his automobile himself or where he remains in his automobile and the food is brought to him by a waitress. In any event, where a tray is to be carried and it is loaded with food packages or dishes, in addition to a paper beverage cup, there is a possibility, unless the carrier walks extremely carefully, that the cup being relatively unstable because of its height, will tip over. By providing a multiple size cup holder which takes no more space than a single cup holder, the present serving tray represents a considerable advance in the art. The structure of the well which holds the cup is such that, whatever the size of cup, it is held so firmly that the tray can virtually be turned upside down without the cup faling from its holder. On the other hand, when the tray is held on the lap of the customer, the cup can be removed and replaced very easily.

The overall structure of the tray and cup-holding well permits the trays to be nested one on top of the other.

Moreover, the plastic material forming the tray is nonabsorbent, and hence the trays may be cleaned and sanitized. They may therefore be reused with a maximum of hygienic protection to the customer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The tray includes a fiat panel, a peripheral rim reinforcing the panel and a well adjacent the panel providing support for a plurality of sizes of tapered cups.

The well includes a circular inner wall providing a series of steps which form successively reduced, vertically aligned socket portions, each socket portion being adapted to receive an associated cup.

The face of the tapered cup and the face of the associated socket portion are downwardly divergent, the socket "ice portion providing a wall shoulder coacting with the cup to retain the cup in position.

The cup-holding well includes an upwardly tapered outer wall and a coaxial inner wall, the two walls having a common upper margin and the two walls diverging downwardly to provide an annular space therebetween which is adapted to receive the well of a similar tray so that the trays may be nested one on top of the other.

The peripheral rim is raised above the fiat panel to provide a retention rail for articles placed on the tray. The rim is substantially channel-shaped, and the legs of the channel diverge downwardly from the vertical to receive the rim of a similar tray thereby allowing the trays to be nested.

The well walls are substantially raised above the level of the flat panel and the rim, and the rim is integral with the outer wall of the well thereby providing lateral support for the well.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the tray;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary view taken on line 44 of FIG. 1, illustrating the cup-holding well, and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary view taken on line 55 of FIG. 1. illustrating the configuration of the peripheral rim.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now by characters of reference to the drawing, and first to FIG. 1, it will be understood that the serving tray 10 includes a flat panel 11, a raised peripheral rim 12 reinforcing the fiat panel 11, and a well 13 constituting a holder for preformed tapered cups.

The peripheral rim 12, as is clearly shown in FIG. 5, is raised above the flat panel 11 and, acts to retain articles placed on the tray 10 by providing a rail. The reinforcing rim 12 is substantially channel-shaped in configuration, having outer and inner legs 14 and 15 downwardly convergent with respect to each other. This diverging configuration of the rim 12, which is clearly shown in FIG. 5, enables the rim 12 of one serving 'tray 10 to be nested within the rim 12 of an identical serving tray 10, and thereby facilitates storage of the trays.

As is clearly illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4, the cupholding well 13 is raised substantially above the level of both the flat panel 11 and the crown 16 of the raised rim 12. The well 13 includes substantially circular inner and outer walls 20 and 21 respectively, which have a common upper margin 22. The inner wall 21 is joggled inwardly to provide upper, intermediate and lower socket portions 23, 24 and 25, respectively, that are vertically aligned. The inner'wall 21 and socket portions 23, 24 and 25 constitute stepped means adapted to support a plurality of sizes of tapered cups in the well 13. As may be clearly observed in FIG. 4, each socket portion has a selectively decreased diameter than the next superjacent socket portion adapted to receive a smaller size of cup than the superjacent socket portion. The well 13 includes a bottom wall 27 which serves to render the well 13 drip-proof.

The substantially conical outer wall 20 of well 13 is upwardly tapered, and the inner wall 21 is downwardy tapered. Thus the inner and outer walls 20 and 21 re spectively diverge downwardly from each other to provide an annular space 26 therebetween, the space 26 being adapted to receive the raised well 13 of a like tray. In this way, and because the legs 14 atd 15 of the peripheral rim 12 are likewise downwardly divergent, the well 13 interfits and is received within the well 13 of an associated tray, and a plurality of associated trays may be nested together in a stack of considerable height with virtually no wasted storage space.

It will be understood that in the preferred embodiment, the well 13 is provided with three socket portions 23, 24 and 25 respectively, which are capable of cooperatively receiving and holding at least three varying sizes of cup. Commonly, the cup sizes for which the serving tray 10 is intended are those used in drive-in restaurants, and will include the small and large sizes of coffee cup and the relatively larger shake cup.

By way of illustration the cup 30, which is shown in FIG. 4, is received within the intermediate socket 24. It will be observed that the circumferential side wall 31 of the intermediate socket portion 24 is downwardly tapered. It will be further observed that in the preferred embodiment of tray 10, the side wall 31 is tapered at a slightly different angle from the tapered cup 30. Thus, the angle between the side wall 31 of the socket portion 24 diverges downwardly relative to the angle of the cup to provide a circumferential wall shoulder 33 which engages the outer face of the tapered cup 30, thereby supporting the tapered cup 30. As a practical matter, the material of the tapered cup which is usually waxed paper, may be crushed slightly against the wall shoulder 32 as the cup 30 is pushed into place, thereby providing a ring of pressure contact augmenting the holding action between the socket portion 24 and the cup 30.

Although the dimensions of the socket portion 24 may be such as to seat the lower margin of the cup 30 upon the ledge 33 between the lower and the intermediate socket portions 25 and 24 respectively, there is no necessity for such seating. In fact, when the cup 30 is not completely seated, the cup 30, though securely held in position, may be more readily removed by applying a slight pressure to the upper part of the cup, thereby pivoting the cup about the wall shoulder 32.

It will be clear that although particular reference has been made to the intermediate socket portion 24, the superjacent and subjacent socket portions 23 and 25, respectively, accomplish substantially the same purpose for a different size cup.

The diameters of the upper circumferential wall shoulders 32, 33 and 34 of thesocket portions 23, 24 and 25 respectively are sufiiciently large to receive the minimum diameter of that tapered cup associated with the -.particular socket portion.

The cup-holding well 13 is preferably disposed in one corner of the serving tray 10 adjacent to the fiat panel 11. The coaxial inner and outer Walls 20 and 21, re- 'spectively, of the well 13, project substantially above the peripheral rim 12. As will be observed from FIGS. 1 and 2, the peripheral rim 12 is raised above the fiat panel 11, and the rim 12 is joined to the outer wall 21 at substantially opposite sides of the well 13, and thereby provides lateral support for the well. The outer leg 14 and the inner leg 15 of the rim 12 merge with the lower portion of the outer wall 21 to provide common side wall portions and 36. This arrangement not only facilitates the molding of the tray, but strengthens the well structure.

It has been found that plastic, because of its molding propensities, is the preferable material for use in the manufacture of trays 10. Such material may be washed for reuse and can withstand a temperature as high as 270 .degrees F. The trays may therefore be totally sterilized 1. A serving tray having a holder for preformed tapered cups, comprising:

(a) a panel,

(b) a well adjacent to the panel,

(c) stepped means in the well adapted to support a plurality of sizes of tapered cups in the well,

(d) the stepped means in the well including a side wall that is downwardly tapered at an angle to the vertical and is adapted to diverge downwardly from taper angle of the cup, whereby to provide a wall shoulder adapted to coact with the outer face of the cup to retain the cup in position.

2. A serving tray having a holder for preformed tapered cups, comprising:

(a) a panel,

(b) a well adjacent to the panel,

(c) stepped means in the well adapted to support a plurality of sizes of tapered cups in the Well,

(d) the stepped means including a peripheral inner wall inwardly joggled to provide a plurality of vertically adjacent sockets portions,

(e) each socket portion having a decreased diameter relative to the next superjacent socket portion adapted to receive a smaller size of cup than the superjacent socket portion,

(f) each socket portion having an upper entrance of a diameter to receive its associated cup, and

(g) each socket portion having a side wall at an angle adapted to diverge downwardly relative to the taper angle of the cup to provide a wall shoulder adapted to coact with the outer face of an associated cup to suport the cup.

3. A serving tray having a holder for preformed tapered cups, comprising:

(a) a panel,

(b) a well adjacent to the panel,

(c) stepped means in the well adapted to support a plurality of sizes of tapered cups in the well,

(d) the Well including an upwardly tapered outer Wall and a coaxial inner wall, the inner wall being joggled to provide a plurality of socket portions, the inner and outer walls having a common upper margin, and

(e) the inner and outer walls diverging downwardly to provide an annular space therebetween adapted to receive the well of an associated identical tray when the trays are nested.

4. A serving tray as defined in claim 3 in which:

(d) a peripheral rim reinforcing the panel, and

(e) the inner and outer well walls projecting substantially above the peripheral rim, the rim laterally supporting the walls and the rim including a rail portion above the panel.

5. A serving tray as defined in claim 4, in which:

(f) the rim is substantially channel-shaped having downwardly divergent legs receiving the rim of an associated identical tray when the trays are nested.

6. A serving tray as defined in claim 5, in which:

(g) the legs of the channel-shaped rim merge with the outer wall at opposite sides of the well to form common side wall portions of the outer wall.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 749,291 l/1904 Hicks 21 l--74 1,949,285 2/ 1934 Porter 211--74 2,597,407 5/ 1952 Thompson.

3,039,616 6/1962 Proflit 2ll74 X 3,381,825 5/1968 Bessett 21 174 FOREIGN PATENTS 986,243 3/1965 Great Britain DAVID H. BROWN, Primary Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US749291 *9 May 190312 Jan 1904 Differential wine-shelf
US1949285 *19 May 193327 Feb 1934Buckeye Aluminum CompanyService tray
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US3039616 *27 Jun 196019 Jun 1962Proffit Lester MContainer holder
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4508303 *10 Apr 19802 Apr 1985Beckerer Frank S JrHolder for containers
US4905949 *13 Feb 19896 Mar 1990Cosgrove James HDevice for releasably supporting a plurality of objects
US4966297 *14 Feb 199030 Oct 1990Doty Robert WFood and beverage snack tray
US5118063 *16 Nov 19902 Jun 1992Young Sr John RConcession tray
US5259528 *6 Apr 19939 Nov 1993Pace Michael ACombination food, drink, utensil and napkin tray
US5421459 *2 Feb 19946 Jun 1995Mazzotti; MassimoMulticompartment tray
US5607077 *14 May 19964 Mar 1997Torkelson; Torkel E.Food beverage and accessories plate
US5720516 *27 Dec 199624 Feb 1998Cy Young Industries, Inc.Concession goods holder
US5732849 *5 Feb 199631 Mar 1998Brooks; Howard L.Reversible lap top TV tray
US5853104 *9 Apr 199729 Dec 1998Rathjen; Kris M.Combination food plate and beverage-holding article
US5971139 *15 Apr 199726 Oct 1999Bradley; Vincent H.Food and beverage tray
US6062418 *10 Jul 199816 May 2000Rathjen; Kris M.Combination food plate and beverage-container-holder article
US6149027 *24 Nov 199921 Nov 2000Rathjen; Kris M.Combination food plate and beverage-container-holder article
US62640263 Nov 199924 Jul 2001Vincent H. BradleyFood, beverage and utility tray
US652036628 Mar 200018 Feb 2003Vincent H. BradleyBeverage container holders
US658202028 Aug 200024 Jun 2003Greystone International, Inc.Theater seat assembly
US661265228 Aug 20002 Sep 2003Greystone International, Inc.Theater seat assembly
US7198327 *29 Mar 20053 Apr 2007Caddy Products, Inc.Writing platform supportable by a cupholder and method of use
US7542910 *3 May 20062 Jun 2009Desiree KelloughMethod and apparatus for serving beverages and for concealing and storing waitresses' cash
US780269325 Nov 200328 Sep 2010Superior Devices, LlcFree moving system for stable, manual support food and drink items
US787105030 Nov 200618 Jan 2011Epstein Marc IAdjustable tray assembly for holding beverage containers and other items
DE20312864U1 *20 Aug 200315 Jan 2004Polyform-Kunststofftechnik Gmbh & Co. Betriebs KgTray for foodstuffs, games, etc, has raised rim around its edge and is made from polyurethane foam, especially closed cell polyurethane foam
WO1990009134A1 *6 Feb 199023 Aug 1990James H CosgroveDevice for releasably supporting a plurality of objects
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/74, 294/172, D07/553.5
International ClassificationA47G23/00, A47G23/06
Cooperative ClassificationA47G23/06
European ClassificationA47G23/06