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Publication numberUS2465935 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 29, 1949
Filing dateMar 12, 1947
Priority dateMar 12, 1947
Publication numberUS 2465935 A, US 2465935A, US-A-2465935, US2465935 A, US2465935A
InventorsAlfred Scalia
Original AssigneeAlfred Scalia
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Signaling and remote control system for mailboxes
US 2465935 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 29, 1949. A. SCALIA 2,465,935

SIGNALING AND REMOTE CONTROL "SYSTEM FOR MAILBOXES I Filed March 12, 1947 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 IN VEN TOR.

March 29, 1949. A. SCALIA 2,465,935

7 SIGNALING AND REMOTE CONTROL SYSTEM FOR MAILBOXES Filed March 12, 1947 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 JZQQZ IN VEN TOR.

By M

Patented Mar. 29, 1949 SIGNALING AND REMOTE CONTROL- SYSTEM FOR MAILBOXES Alfred Scalia, Chicago, 111.

.Application March 12, 1947, Serial No. 734,111

7 Claims. (Cl. 177-311) This invention relates broadly to electrical signaling and remote control systems and methods and has to do more specifically with a novel system which is operative to serve three distinct purposes, namely: (1) that of an electric door bell, buzzer 01' chime; (2) that of a mail box annunciator to signal the presence of mail in the box; and (3) that of a remote control circuit whereby a mail box can be unlocked from a remote pointthus making the use of a mail box key unnecessary.

The primary object of my invention is to devise a system which, preferably, can be superimposed upon a pre-existing two-wire door bell circuitwithout the need for any additional intercon-r necting wires-and which will serve automatically to signal, at a remote point, the presence of mail in a mail box and as a remote control circuit for unlocking the mail box, in addition to its usual function as a door bell system.

A further object is to devise a system of the above-indicated character which will cause momentary operation of an audible signal at a remote point when mail is deposited in a mail box and which will thereafter provide a visual signal, which is inaudible, for continuously indicating the presence of mail in the box--the continuous visual signal persisting until the mail is removed from the box.

My invention is especially advantageous where it is desired to install such a system in an existing house or apartment building in which there are one or more previously installed two-wire door bell circuits, and where the cost of running one or more additional wires from the front entrance of the building to one or several remote points, as, for example, to a number of apartments in the building, would be substantial; but the utility of the invention is in no wise limited to situations of that character, since the invention is just as applicable to new-building installations-where the cost of additional wires would be insignificant-as it is to old-building installations where the cost of running additional wires.

naling system, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 is a perspective view showing the front of multiple mail box'unit-one of the boxes being shown open;

Fig. 3 is a vertical sectional View through a mail box inwhich certain components of the subject invention are shown installed;

Fig, 4 is a sectional View taken on line 44 of Fig. 3; and

Fig. 5 is a fragmentary sectional View taken at line 5-5 of Fig. 3.

Referring to the diagram, Fig. 1, all that portion of the system shown to the left of the vertical dot-dash line it is either incorporated in or associated with an individual mail box which may, for example, be installed in the front entrance of an apartment building. The portion of the system shown to the right of vertical dot-dash line I I is located at a point remote from the mail box, such as an apartment within the building, And the two aforementioned portions of the system are interconnected through a single pair of wires I2 and I3.

Alternating current is supplied to the system from the house mains through the medium of a transformer M which steps down the voltage to a suitable level such, for example, as 10-12 volts.

The mail box is identified as a whole by reference numeral l5, and the appurtenances added thereto and forming component elements of the subject signaling system comprise: a group of contact springs l6 mounted within the upper portion of the mail compartment; a pair of contact springs I? located at the bottom of the mail compartment; 'a pair of pushbutton-operated contact springs; and an electromagnet 19 which serves both as an electrical rea'ctance and as a means for unlatehing the mail box door by remote control.

The components of the system which are located in the apartment comprise: an audible signal device 20, such as a door bell, buzzer or electric chime; an electric lamp bulb Z! or other visual signal device; a pair of pushbutton-operated contacts 22; and the transformer M, which may be either in the apartment or the basement of the building.

Referring now more particularly to Figs. 2-5 inclusive, the mail box 'unit l5 may be generally of conventional design and, as shown in Fig. 2, comprises three mail holding compartments 23. The unit is made up of a front plate 24; a back plate 25; a top plate 25; a bottom plate 21; vertical end walls 28; vertical separating partitions 29, which divide the .unit into individual mail compartments 23; front doors 30, one for each 'individual mail compartment, through which 3 mail is removed; and hinged closures 3|, for the slot through which mail is admitted to the mail compartments. Doors 30 are hinged at 32 and their lower ends move outwardly and upwardly when the doors are opened. Suitable hinge springs, not shown, bias doors 30 toward open position so that when they are unlatched as hereinafter described, they will remain unlatched until they are intentionally closed. Closure 3| is hinged at 33.

So far, at least, as the present invention is concerned, the several mail compartments 23 areidentical, and for purposes of further description it is convenient to assume that the unit l5 comprises only one mail holding compartment and one each of door and closure 3 I.

The group of contact springs I6 is mounted within mail compartment 23 at the upper extremity thereof on the side wall 29 and is arranged to be operated, in response to opening movements of closure 3|, by a pair of pins 34 and 35, each of which is secured at one end in a block of insulating material 36 which is attached to the back of closure 3|. The positions of pins 34 and when closure 3| is both closed and fully opened is indicated in Fig. 3the open position being shown in dot-dash lines.

When closure 3| is opened to a slight extent, as would be necessary in order to insert a letter through the slot into compartment 23, pins 34 and .35 are moved upwardly to such an extent that pin 34 engages the sloping end of contact spring 31 and deflects that spring into engagement with contact spring 38. This closes a circuit via conductors |2 and I3 through the secondary winding of transformer l4 and through the audible signal device 20 and the lamp 2| in parallel. There is thus produced an audible signal and a visual signal. If the closure 3| is immediately released, the audible signal will be only momentary, but of suflicient duration to inform the occupants of the apartment that mail has been deposited in the box. The lamp 2| would also be extinguished upon restoration to normal of closure 3| save for the fact that the letter dropped into the box falls onto the upper one of contact springs l1, and this spring is so resilient that it deflects under the weight of the letter into engagement with the lower spring and thus closes a circuit through conductors 39 and 40, coil l9, conductors l2 and I3, and the secondary of transformer M, which supplies enough voltage to light lamp 2| but not enough to actuate audible signal device 20. The reason for this is that the A. C. impedance of electromagnet coil l9 reduces the voltage impressed upon the audible signal device to such as extent that it will not respond; but the voltage is still suflicient to light lamp 2|. At the same time, the parallel impedance of device 20 and lamp 2| is sufiicient to limit the voltage across electromagnet coil I9 to a value which is not sufficient to enable the electromagnet to actuate its armature.

With contact springs I! closed by the weight of a letter, a closure of pushbutton-operated contacts 22 will shunt out lamp 2| and device 20 and thus increase the voltage across electromagnet 9 to a value sufllcient to enable it to actuate its armature,

Now referring to Figs. 3 and 5, it will be seen that electromagnet I9 is secured to an iron frame 40 which is attached at one end to the bottom plate 21, by which it is supported; and said electromagnet has a core 4| which is disposed in ments within the purview of my inventive con- "first pair of normally open contacts associated spaced relation to an armature 42 which is pivoted at 43 on frame 40 and provided with a detent 44 which serves to latchingly engage a latchplate 45 secured to door 30. A coil spring 46 normally holds armature 42 in latching engagement with latchplate 45 and is strong enough to prevent actuation of said armature by electromagnet |9 when the voltage thereacross is reduced by inclusion in circuit of device 20 and lamp 2|, but not strong enough to prevent actuation of the armature when the voltage across the electromagnet is increased by closing contact 22 and thus shunting out elements 20 and '2 In order to ensure that a letter dropped into the box will fall on contact springs H at a point sufliciently forward to efiect a closure of those contacts, there is attached to the back wall 25 a light leaf spring 41 which is of suificient stifiness to divert a downwardly moving letter toward the front of the box, but sufficiently yieldable so as not to interfere with insertion of whatever mail is to be deposited.

It often happens that pieces of mail which are too large to pass completely through the intake slot are left in the slot by the letter carrier and that the closure 3| is thus held in its fully open position. For that reason, spring 31 is so formed that when closure 3| is fully opened, pin 34 will pass the laterally ofiset end portion of spring 31 (see Fig. 3), thus allowing contact springs 3'1, 38 to reopen. As a result, the operating circuit of audible signal device 20 is closed but momentarily, and said device is, accordingly, not kept in operation to the annoyance of the occupants of the apartment. But unless some I! and are effective to close a circuit through electromagnet l9 and lamp 2| which causes said lamp to light. The audible device 20 is not actuated because of the A. C. electromagnet l9.

Contacts l8 are manually operable by the pushbutton 52 to close a circuit through conductors 53 and 54 and conductors l2 and I3 to energize both the audible signal device 20 and the lamp 2|. It will be seen that I have provided a system requiring only two interconnecting wires which functions as a door bell circuit and, in addition,

as a circuit for operating an audible signal momentarily when mail is either deposited in the mail box or left in the mail intake slot and which maintains a visual signal until the mail is removed from the box; and which further provides for unlocking the mail box by remote control.

It will be self-evident that there are numerous possible modifications and alternative arrangecept and, accordingly, I do not wish to be limited except as indicated by the terms of the appended claims.

Having described my invention, what I claim 'as new and wish to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. A signalling system comprising: a first station and a second station remote from said first station and connected therewith through a pair of conductors, a mail box at said first station, a

impedance of,

anemone with said mail box and operative, in response to apartial opening of the slot closure of the mail box, to close a circuitincluding said-conductors, said circuit including an audible signal device and a visual signal device located at said second station, a source of alternating current in series with said contacts, said contacts being operative in response to further-opening of. said closure to open said circuit, a second pair of normally open contacts, an inductance, said second pair lOf contacts being located within said .mail box and adapted to be closed by the weight of a letter superimposed thereon, said second contacts bee ing included in series with said inductance and said source of current and said signal devices in acircuit including said pair of conductors;

2. A signaling system comprising: ar'first station and a second station remote from said first station, said stations being interconnected by a pair of conductors, a'rnail box at said first station, a first pair of normally open contactsassociated with said mail box and operative in response to a partial opening of the slot closure of the mail box to close a circuit including said conductors, said circuit including an audible signal device and a visual signal device located at said second station, a source of alternating current in series with said contacts, said contacts being operative in response to further opening of said closure to open said circuit, a second pair of normally open contactsj an electromagnet operative when fullyenergized to unlock'the door of themail box, said secondpair of contacts being located within said mail box and adapted to be closed by the weight of a letter superimposed thereon, said second contacts being included in series with the winding of said electromagnet and said source of current and said signal devices in a circuit including said pair of conductors, said audible signal device being inoperative on the voltage applied thereto When included in series circuit with the winding of said electromagnet, a pair of manually operable normally open contacts at said second station operative, when closed, to shunt at least one of said signal devices, said electromagnet being inoperative to unlock said door on the voltage impressed thereon when said lastmentioned contacts are open, but operative in response to a closure of said last-mentioned contacts, provided said second contacts are also closed.

3. A signaling system comprising: a first station and a second station remote from said first station and interconnected therewith by a pair of conductors, a mail box at said first station, a first pair of normally open contacts situated within said mail box and adapted to be closed by the weight of a letter resting thereon, an electromagnet operative, when fully energized, to unlock said mail box, a signal device at said second station and a second pair of normally open contacts at said second station in shunt to said device, a source of current, and a circuit including said conductors, said source of current and said first and second pairs of contacts connected in series in said circuit, the voltage across the winding of said electromagnet being so reduced by the impedance of said device, when said contacts are open, that said electromagnet is ineffective to unlock said mail box, the voltage across said winding, when said device is shunted by closure of said second contacts, being sufficient to fully energize said electromagnet, provided said first contacts are closed.

4, A signaling system comprising: a first station and a second station remote from said first station, a mail box at said first station having a compartment for the reception of mail, a slot for insertion of mail, a hinged closure for said slot and a door providing access to said compartment for removal of mail, a first pair of normally open contact springs adapted to be closed momentarily in response to. an opening of said closure, an audible signal device and a visual signal device located at said second station and connected in parallel, a second pair of normally open contact springs adapted to be closed inresponse to a full opening of said closure and to be held closed as long as said closure remains fully open, a latch normally holding said'door closed, and an electromagnet operative, when fully energized, to unlatch said door, a first circuit including a pair of conductors interconnecting said stations, said circuit including said signal devices and said first'contacts in series with a source of alternating current, but not including the winding of said electromagnet, a second circuit including said pair of conductors and said signal devices and said source of current, said second circuit also including said second contacts in series with the winding of said electromagnet, and a third pair of normally open contacts located at said second stationand connected in shunt to said signal devices, said electromagnet T being insufficiently energized to unlatch said door when said second pair of contacts are closed and said third pair of contacts are open, but suificiently energized to unlatch the door when both said second and third pairs of contacts are closed.

5. A signaling system comprising: a first station and a second station remote from said first station, a mail box at said first station having a compartment for the reception of mail together with a slot for insertion of mail and a door for removal of mail, a first pair of normally open contact springs located in the bottom of said compartment and adapted to be closed by the weight of a letter resting thereon, a latch normally locking said door, an electromagnet operative, when energized, to unlatch the door, an electrically operated visual signal device at said second station, a second pair of normally open contacts located at said second station and connected in shunt to said signal device, and a circuit including a source of current and a pair of conductors interconnecting said stations, said circuit including both said pairs of contacts and the winding of said electromagnet in series with said source of current, said signal device being operative in response to a closure of said first pair of contacts, said electromagnet being insufilciently energized to unlatch said door when said first pair of contacts only is closed, but sufiiciently energized to unlatch the door when both said pairs of contacts are closed.

6. A signaling device comprising: a first station and, a second station remote from said first station, a mail box at said first station having a compartment for the reception of mail and a slot for the insertion of mail, together with a hinged closure for said slot, a first pair of normally open contacts adapted to be closed momentarily in response to an opening of said closure, a second pair of normally open contacts located Within and at the bottom of said compartment and adapted to be closed by the Weight of a letter resting thereon, an electrically operated audible signal device located at said second station, a visual signal device located at said second station, a first circuit including a pair of conductors interconnecting said stations, a source of current included in said circuit in series with said first contacts and said signal devices, both of said devices being actuable momentarily in response to a closure of said first contacts, and a second circuit including said pair of conductors and said source of current and said signal devices, said second circuit also including said second pair of contacts and an impedance element in series, the magnitude of said impedance being sufiicient to prevent operation of said audible signal device when said second contacts are closed and said first contacts are open, but insufiicient to prevent operation of said visual signal device under the same conditions.

7. A signaling system comprising: a first station and a second station remote from said first station, a mail box at said first station having a compartment for the reception of mail and a slot for insertion of mail, together with a hinged closure for said slot, a first pair of normally open contacts adapted to be closed momentarily in response to an opening of said closure, a second pair of normally open contacts located within and at the bottom of said compartment and adapted 25 Number to a closure of said first contacts, and a second circuit including said pair of conductors and said source of current and said signal devices, said second circuit also including said second pair of contacts and the winding of an electromagnet in series, the impedance of said winding being sufficient to prevent operation of said audible signal device when said second contacts are closed and said first contacts are open, but insuflicient to prevent operation of said visual signal device under the same conditions, a third pair of contacts located at said second station and in shunt to said signal devices, a door providing access to said compartment, a latch normally locking said door, and means operable by said electromagnet in response to closure of said third pair of contacts for unlatching said door.

ALFRED SCALIA.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Name Date 532,860 Belding Jan. 22, 1895 630,203 Elrod Aug. 1, 1899 759,047 Vannais May 3, 1904 861,290 Koons July 30, 1907 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 55,645 Switzerland May 16, 1911

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3008133 *Nov 17, 1959Nov 7, 1961Josephine ConigliaroCombined door signal and mail indicator device
US3150361 *Jul 17, 1962Sep 22, 1964Nicholas ConigliaroMail indicator and door signal
US3295124 *Dec 26, 1962Dec 27, 1966Viola JacksonSafety mail box
US3556394 *Dec 18, 1968Jan 19, 1971Caldes Constantine AAudible house alarm for rural mail boxes
US3819109 *Nov 21, 1972Jun 25, 1974Ucciardino AMailbox array
US4204632 *Dec 15, 1978May 27, 1980Cook Hulet HMail depository indicating assembly
US4314102 *Feb 13, 1980Feb 2, 1982Pitney Bowes Inc.Post office box monitoring system
US4999612 *Jun 21, 1990Mar 12, 1991Cherveny Albert GGravity fed remote mail delivery indicator
US5954264 *Dec 18, 1997Sep 21, 1999Keller; Louis D.Rural mailbox with remote door opener
US6114959 *Feb 22, 1999Sep 5, 2000Bennett; Ronald J.Automatic remote mail alert system
US6957767Jun 30, 2003Oct 25, 2005International Business Machines CorporationRFID-keyed mailbox, and RFID-based system and method for securing a mailbox
US7671276Nov 28, 2007Mar 2, 2010Baker David LArmed junction box enclosure
US7938314 *Aug 14, 2009May 10, 2011Helen BeneshRemotely operable mailbox system and associated method
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/569, 232/36
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/1225, A47G2029/1226, A47G2029/1228
European ClassificationA47G29/122S