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Publication numberUS20030150905 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/074,555
Publication dateAug 14, 2003
Filing dateFeb 11, 2002
Priority dateFeb 11, 2002
Publication number074555, 10074555, US 2003/0150905 A1, US 2003/150905 A1, US 20030150905 A1, US 20030150905A1, US 2003150905 A1, US 2003150905A1, US-A1-20030150905, US-A1-2003150905, US2003/0150905A1, US2003/150905A1, US20030150905 A1, US20030150905A1, US2003150905 A1, US2003150905A1
InventorsMatt Mazzilli
Original AssigneeMatt Mazzilli
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ultraviolet light mailbox
US 20030150905 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is a mailbox sanitization device employing ultraviolet lamps mounted therein. The lamps are activated after placement of mail, postcards, packages and the like into the mailbox for approximately 60 seconds. The ultraviolet lamp may further produce residual ozone sufficient to destroy most viruses found on the materials placed within the mailbox. The mailbox may be operated in remote areas by use of low voltage or in a commercial setting for protection of postal employees.
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Claims(14)
What I claim is:
1. A ultraviolet light mailbox comprising:
a housing defining an interior and an open end;
a door having an inner and an outer surface, said door pivotally attached to said open end of said housing;
at least one ultraviolet lamp positioned in said interior providing a wavelength capable of germicidal destruction;
a switch electrically coupled to said ultraviolet lamp and coupled to said door, said switch movable by said door for placing said ultraviolet lamp between an on position when said door covers the open end and an off position when said door is pivoted to allow access to the interior of said housing;
whereby mail placed within said interior of said housing is subject to ultraviolet light when said door is placed in a position to cover said open end.
2. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said interior of said housing is coated with a non-corrosion material.
3. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said ultraviolet lamp is capable of radiating at a wavelength of 254 nm providing germicidal destruction.
4. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said ultraviolet lamp is capable of radiating at a wavelength of 185 nm and producing ozone providing germicidal destruction.
5. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 including a timer eclectically coupled to said switch.
6. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 5 wherein said timer operates said lamp for a period of about 60 seconds.
7. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said housing includes a viewing port to provide visual indication of lamp operation.
8. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said lamp is powered by a remotely located low voltage ballast.
9. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 1 wherein said lamp is powered by batteries.
10. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 9 wherein said batteries are replenished by solar power.
11. A ultraviolet light mailbox comprising:
a housing defining an interior and an open end, said interior coated with a non-corrosion material;
a door having an inner and an outer surface, said door pivotally attached to said open end of said housing;
at least one ultraviolet lamp powered by a remotely located low voltage ballast, said lamp positioned in said interior providing a wavelength capable of germicidal destruction;
a switch having a timer electrically coupled to said ultraviolet lamp and coupled to said door, said switch movable by said door for placing said ultraviolet lamp between an on position wherein said timer operates for about 60 seconds when said door covers the open end, and an off position when said door is pivoted to allow access to the interior of said housing;
whereby mail placed within said interior of said housing is subject to ultraviolet light when said door is placed in a position to cover said open end.
12. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 11 wherein said ultraviolet lamp is capable of radiating at a wavelength of 254 nm providing germicidal destruction.
13. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 11 wherein said ultraviolet lamp is capable of radiating at a wavelength of 185 nm and producing ozone providing germicidal destruction.
14. The ultraviolet light mailbox according to claim 11 wherein said housing includes a viewing port to provide visual indication of lamp operation.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention is directed to the field of mailboxes and in particular to mailbox utilizing ultraviolet lamps for localized surface treatment of mail.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The ability for germs to be transmitted from person to person is well known. Various products, such as sanitization solutions, and techniques, such as frequent hand washing, are known to help prevent the spread of viruses. Typically the transmission of germs from one person to another is by accident.
  • [0003]
    For example, in a residential situation a postal delivery person sorts mail by their delivery address where the mail is deposited in a box located at the recipient's residence. It is not unusual for the postal worker to handle thousands of pieces of mail each day, as well as open hundreds of mailboxes, each of which may hold various strands of germs. Further, the postal delivery person may shake the hand of numerous patrons, open building doors and mailboxes, any of which may harbor germs. If the postal worker wears gloves, he may protect himself but not the mail. Thus, a virus may be received as as a neighbor sneezing while depositing his mail and the postal worker and becoming the unsuspecting carrier for the germs.
  • [0004]
    As evident by the ease of transporting germs, postal workers also need protection from the public as they are constantly exposed to the germs carried by the mail. Gloves are a known option but typically are not worn due to apparently inconveniences has from heat, lost of dexterity, and allergic reaction that some individuals have to gloves such as those made from latex.
  • [0005]
    Of current concern is that a segment of the population does not care to abide by common cleanliness etiquette, or maliciously attempts to spread viruses. The mail has been found to be easy way of transporting spores used to intentionally cause harm to unsuspecting victims. In such instances the unsuspecting handler of mail, as well as the recipient, can be subjected to dangerous viruses.
  • [0006]
    Thus, what is lacking in the art is a device that automatically subjects mail to ultraviolet radiation for purposes of destroying germs by use of a conventional style mailbox container.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    Disclosed is a mailbox that is modified to include an ultraviolet light source. Mail placed into the mailbox is subjected to intense ultraviolet light by use of 254 nm lamps for destruction of germs, or 185 nm lamps that are capable of providing producing ultraviolet light and residual ozone.
  • [0008]
    In a preferred embodiment mail items, such as postcards, envelopes, brochures, cd's, and so forth) are placed inside a mailbox container housing ultraviolet lamps. When the mailbox door is closed, the ultraviolet lamp is activated for a period of about 60 second. During this process, the mail is subjected to a very high level of ultraviolet light for purposes of killing germs. Depending on the type of germicidal lamp employed, the ultraviolet light may also create an ozone residual to destroy germs that are hidden from the radiation light.
  • [0009]
    The mailbox ultraviolet lamps may be operated by a remotely located low voltage electrical source (e.g. 12 volts DC), solar power, or battery power. When the mailbox is mounted to a secure structure, the unit may be operated directly on 120 volts AC.
  • [0010]
    Thus an objective of the invention is to teach the use of a mailbox as a microbial/germicidal sanitization container.
  • [0011]
    Yet another objective of the invention is to disclose a the use of a residential mailbox for purposes of treating mail before receipt by a mailman or a patron.
  • [0012]
    Another objective of the invention is to provide an ultraviolet light mailbox that operates on low voltage.
  • [0013]
    Still another objective to the invention is to provide a commercial mailbox receptacle for treatment of mail and protection of postal employees.
  • [0014]
    Another objective of the instant invention is to employ ultraviolet lamps that produce ozone.
  • [0015]
    Yet still another objective of the instant invention is to provide a viewing port to safely determine operation of the ultraviolet lamps.
  • [0016]
    Other objectives and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example, certain embodiments of this invention. The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the present invention and illustrate various objects and features thereof.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ultraviolet light mailbox of the present invention;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 2 is a sectional side view of the inside of the ultraviolet light mailbox;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 3 is an end view of the ultraviolet light mounted bracket; and
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 4 is a simplified electrical schematic depicting power routing for the ultraviolet light mailbox.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0021]
    Although the invention will be described in terms of a specific embodiment, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in this art that various modifications, rearrangements and substitutions can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention is defined by the claims appended hereto.
  • [0022]
    Now referring to FIG. 1, set forth is a pictorial of a mailbox 10 having a conventional shape and further defined as a housing 12 having an interior 14 and an open end 16. A door 18 has an inner surface 20 and an outer surface 22. The door 18 is pivotly attached by hinge member 24 to the open end 16 of the housing 12. In a conventional format the mailbox may have a flag 26 that can be raised to indicate to a postal worker that items are inside the mailbox for pickup. In this embodiment the mailbox 10 is mounted on a post 28. In the interior 14 of the housing 12 is a first ultraviolet lamp 30 positioned so as to provide effective distribution of ultraviolet light to the mail. The ultraviolet light recommended is either a 254 nm wave length capable of providing germicidal destruction or a 185 nm capable of producing radiant light and a residual amount of ozone. The lamp 30 is protected by a galvanized screen 32 preferably constructed from 19 gauge wire. Similarly a lower lamp 34 is located along the bottom surface 36 of the housing 12 and also protected by a galvanized screen 38. Preferably the interior 14 of the housing 12 is coated with galvanized paint due to the reflective properties of galvanized material which enhances operation of the ultraviolet light, but further provides a material of construction which inhibits growth of bacteria. The screen material allows full passage of ultraviolet light but prevents mail insertion from collapsing the screen so as to cause breakage to the lamps. In instances where excessive mail may be placed within the mailbox, mail slots may be used to organize the mail to allow separation and enhanced contact with the ultraviolet light. In instances where packing of porous materials is expected, the use of the ultraviolet light capable of producing a residual amount of ozone is preferred to allow for proper disinfection. It should be noted that common spreading of germs is located on the outside surface of the mail, especially those being last handled. Thus, the interaction of the ultraviolet light from the bottom surface and the top surface of the mailbox with reflecting side surfaces, is deemed sufficient for most installations. Referring now to FIG. 2, shown is the ultraviolet lights 30 and 34 placed along the interior 14 of the housing 12. Switch mechanism 40 is available for engaging door 22 for purposes of operating a timer 42 that allows operation of the lamps 30 and 34. Timer operation of approximately 60 seconds is deemed suitable for the radiant light. Depending upon the type of lamps employed and the particular installation, a ballast or transformer 42 may be located at the mailbox. For instance, in commercial applications such as those where the recipient of the mail is the United States Postal Service, the mailbox would be considered a commercial box and the use of a locally mounted ballast may be preferred. However, in residential applications where the mailbox may be located along the outer property edge, where it is acceptable to accidents, (e.g. lawn mowers, wayward automobiles and so forth) preferably the higher voltage is maintained in the residents housing struture and low voltage is brought to the lamps. If destruction of the mailbox assembly occurs, electrification would not be a result.
  • [0023]
    As shown in FIG. 3, a conventional mailbox may be modified by the use of a lower plate of galvanized steel 46 Galvanized channel 48 is mounted thereon for holding of the lamp retainer 50. The screening material 38 is located above the assembly again to prevent damage to the lamps. In such instances, 19 gauge galvanized steel is found to be sufficient to provide support and sufficient rigidity for the handling of most packages.
  • [0024]
    As shown in FIG. 4, a common voltage source such as 120 volts AC is found in the home and can be delivered to a low voltage transformer 62 that supplies power to the mailbox located switch 40 and timer 42. Upon closing of the switch 40 the timer is energized which allows low voltage power to be delivered to the lamps 30 and 34, depending upon the type of pre-heat unit 66 that is employed.
  • [0025]
    Ideally, the Postal worker would only accept mail placed in the residential mail box. The Postal worker would know where the mail came from and that it had been radiated. Similarly, a mail patron would only accept mail from a postal worker after it has been treated by the light radiation.
  • [0026]
    It is to be understood that while I have illustrated and described certain forms of my invention, it is not to be limited to the specific forms or arrangement of parts herein described and shown. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown in the drawings and described in the specification.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7540162 *Sep 4, 2007Jun 2, 2009Mark T NordstromDisplay case with improved sanitation
US8231435 *Jul 31, 2012Donald NevinSanitizing dental model trimmer
US9101904 *May 25, 2012Aug 11, 2015Honeywell International Inc.Air purification system using ultraviolet light emitting diodes and photocatalyst-coated supports
US20040011863 *Jul 17, 2002Jan 22, 2004Brooks Terry W.Terrorist-resistant mailbox
US20040140347 *Sep 25, 2003Jul 22, 2004Gueorgui MihaylovSanitizing secure and safe mail box
US20080053113 *Sep 4, 2007Mar 6, 2008Nordstrom Mark TDisplay case with improved sanitation
US20100203464 *Aug 12, 2010Donald NevinSanitizing dental model trimmer
US20130313104 *May 25, 2012Nov 28, 2013Honeywell International Inc.Air purification system using ultraviolet light emitting diodes and photocatalyst-coated supports
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/17
International ClassificationA47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/1209, A47G2029/1221
European ClassificationA47G29/12R