A shipping container for live lobsters and the like has an interior
subdivided by partition walls into discrete compartments, each being
configured and dimensioned to receive an individual lobster. The
thus received lobsters are confined and segregated one from the
other, and are thus safeguarded from injury during shipment.
1. A method of packaging live lobsters for shipment, said method
comprising the steps of:
providing a carton large enough to accommodate a plurality of live
lobsters, said carton having bottom, top and side walls, at least
said top wall being comprised of flaps which may be opened to gain
access to said interior;
introducing a protective means into said carton to safeguard lobsters
contained therein from injury which might otherwise be occasioned
by said lobsters being thrown about and against one another during
shipment, said protective means defining a plurality of compartments
within said carbon;
introducing lobsters into at least some of said compartments, the
thus introduced lobsters being confined within said compartments
and segregated one from the other;
arranging cooling means within said carton to lower the interior
temperature thereof and thereby prolong the life of the lobsters
confined within said compartments; and
closing said flaps;
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of lining
the inside surfaces of said bottom, top and side walls with thermal
3. The method of claim 2 further comprising the step of interposing
a liquid impervious barrier between said insulation panels and at
least said bottom and side walls.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the height of said protective
means is less than the distance between said top and bottom walls,
thereby providing an undivided space between the top of said partitioning
means and said top wall, and wherein said cooling means is arranged
in said undivided space.
Lobster descriptionBACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to the container art, and is concerned
in particular with an improvement in containers of the type employed
to ship live lobsters.
2. Description of the Invention
Conventionally, live lobsters are shipped in lots of 25 to 50 or
more in large cartons lined with insulation. The lobsters are loosely
contained and are not segregated one from the other. Thus, as the
cartons are subjected to the usual rough handling by truckers, airline
baggage handlers, shipping clerks, etc., the lobsters tend to be
thrown against one another as well as against the carton side walls.
This causes injury to the lobsters, often resulting in their death
during transit. Even when the cartons are carefully handled, normal
body contact between the lobsters can produce injury and maiming.
Such premature deaths, injury and maiming result in significant
financial losses, and in some cases make long distance shipments
A general objective of the present invention is to provide an improved
shipping container incorporating internal partitioning means for
confining and safely segregating the lobsters one from the other.
A further objective of the present invention is the provision of
means for stabilizing the environment in which the lobsters are
shipped, thereby avoiding haphazard and injurious contact of the
lobsters with each other and with the container walls.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly stated, the shipping container of the present invention
comprises a carton having an interior enclosed by bottom, side and
top walls, the latter preferably being made up of multiple flaps
which can be opened to gain access to the carton interior, and which
thereafter may be closed and stapled, glued or taped shut. A series
of intersecting internal partitions subdivides the carton interior
into a plurality of compartments, each being configured and dimensioned
to receive and confine an individual lobster in a vertical orientation,
preferably tail first. The thus received lobsters are segregated
one from the other by the internal partitions and are held in a
stabilized environment which safeguards them against injury. Frozen
gel packs or other like cooling means are enclosed in the carton
along with the lobsters to maintain an appropriate life supporting
environment. Preferably, the carton walls are lined with thermal
insulation, typically in the form of expanded polystyrene panels.
Advantageously, a liquid impervious barrier in the form of a polyethylene
bag-like liner is provided between the container walls and the thermal
insulation. This insures that any liquid introduced into the container
along with the lobsters will remain contained and will not seep
through the container walls to disfigure the container and contaminate
surrounding packaging within the shipping environment.
Preferably, the individual compartments extend vertically between
the top and bottom container walls. The height of the internal partitions
is less than the distance between the top and bottom walls, thereby
providing an undivided space overlying the individual compartments.
The frozen gel packs are safely contained within this undivided
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present
invention will become more apparent in connection with a detailed
description of a preferred embodiment of the invention to be provided
hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shipping container in accordance
with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along line
2--2 of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are sectional views taken respectively along lines
3--3 and 4--4 of FIG. 2 with FIG. 4--4 being on an enlarged scale;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view, again on an enlarged scale, taken along
lines 5--5 of FIG. 3; and,
FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the components making
up the container.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
With reference to the drawings, a shipping container in accordance
with the present invention is generally indicated at 10 in FIG.
1. The container includes a carton having an interior enclosed by
a bottom wall 12 side walls 14 and a top wall 16 made up of flaps
16' which are integral with the side walls 14 and joined thereto
along fold lines 18. The bottom wall 12 is also defined by flaps
12' integral with the side walls 14 and joined thereto by fold lines
The carton may be "knocked down" to a flat condition
(not shown) for storage. When erecting the carton, the side walls
14 are expanded to a rectangular configuration as shown in FIG.
3. The bottom flaps 12' are then folded in to define the bottom
12. The bottom flaps are securely interconnected, either by gluing,
external taping or stapling. The top flaps 16' remain open to allow
access to the interior of the carton for assembly of the remaining
components to be hereinafter described. The open carton ready for
receipt of such components is illustrated at the bottom of FIG.
A liquid impervious liner, preferably in the form of a polyethylene
bag 22 is then introduced into the carton. The bag lines the interior
surfaces of the side and bottom walls 1416 and has a height substantially
greater than that of the side walls 14.
Thermal insulation means, typically although not necessarily in
the form of expanded polystyrene panels 2426 are then arranged
to respectively line the bottom and side walls 1214.
An intersecting array of partition walls indicated typically at
28 is then introduced into the container to subdivide its interior
into a plurality of compartments 30. The partition walls 28 may
also be folded flat to a "knocked down" condition (not
shown) for storage.
Each compartment 30 extends vertically between the bottom and top
container walls, and is configured and dimensioned to receive a
single live lobster. Preferably, each lobster will be introduced
into its respective compartment tail first, and will be retained
safely and securely therein with its claws extending upwardly, as
illustrated by the broken lines in FIG. 2.
In the container herein illustrated, twenty five compartments are
provided. All may be filled with lobsters, or alternatively, some
may be filled and others allowed to remain empty. Regardless of
whether some or all of the compartments are filled, however, each
lobster will remain securely held in its own compartment, and each
will be safely segregated from the other.
The height of the partition walls 28 is less than the distance
between the bottom and top container walls 1216. Thus, there remains
an undivided space 31 in the upper region of the container interior
between the partition walls 28 and the top 16.
After the lobsters have been introduced into their respective compartments
30 cooling means, preferably in the form of one or more refrigerated
gel packs 34 are then arranged on the top of the partition walls
28 within the space 30. The gel packs are then covered by sheets
32 of damp newspaper or the like. Another expanded polystyrene panel
36 is then introduced into the container. Panel 36 sits on the top
edges of panels 24 and cooperates with panels 24 and bottom panel
26 to enclose the lobsters in a thermally insulated chamber, which
together with the refrigerated gel packs 34 and damp newspaper sheets
32 maintains a life supporting environment for the lobsters.
The top of the polyethylene bag 22 is then folded over the top
insulating panel 36 after which the top flaps 16' are folded into
the closed position and held shut by any conventional means, such
as for example the staples 38 shown in FIG. 1. Alternatively, the
top of the polyethylene bag may be folded over the newspaper sheets
32 before applying the top insulating panel 36.
In light of the foregoing, it will now be appreciated by those
skilled in the art that the present invention provides a novel and
significantly improved shipping container for live lobsters. The
advantageous features which coact one with the other to achieve
this result include: segregating and securely retaining the lobsters
in individual compartments, thereby eliminating death and injury
that would otherwise result from the lobsters being thrown about
and against each other during shipment; safely segregating the refrigerated
gel packs from the lobsters in a separate area of the container
interior; complete containment of the lobsters and the refrigerated
gel packs within an insulated compartment defined by the polystyrene
panels; and all liquids being safely retained within the container
by the liquid impervious liner bag.
While the present invention has been described in connection with
the packaging and shipment of live lobsters, other live crustaceans
such as crabs can also benefit from being shipped in the same manner.