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Publication numberUS2480288 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 30, 1949
Filing dateAug 22, 1947
Priority dateAug 22, 1947
Publication numberUS 2480288 A, US 2480288A, US-A-2480288, US2480288 A, US2480288A
InventorsMichael Donadio
Original AssigneeMichael Donadio
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Signal mailbox
US 2480288 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

. Aug' 30,

SIGNAL MAILBOX Filed Aug, 22I 1947 2 sheetsheet l INVENTOR. MICHAEL DONAD/o Wilillg4 M M M5 M i M M UMMM u AMM/ Mrz;

Aug. 30, 1949. M. DoNADlo 2,480,288

SIGNAL MAILBOX lFiled Aug. 22, 1947 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. vfcHAEL DOA/ADIC Patented Aug. 30, 1949 UNITED STATES fTENT OFFICE SGNAL MAILBX Michael Donadio, Yonkers, N. Y.

Application August 22, 1947, Serial No. 770,140

6 Claims. 1

This invention relates generally to signal mail boxes and more particularly to apparatus for signalling that mail has been placed in the individual compartments of a mail box in a multiple apartment house.

In some mail boxes with which applicant is aware, each of the individual compartments in the box is provided withy an individual hinged door for inserting the mail, which door is exposed and which upon opening actuates a signal. This makes it necessary for the postman to open each individual door to place mail in the compartment which is time consuming. Furthermore in such mailboxes, tampering by an unauthorized person and accidental opening of such doors are easy which is of course objectionable.

It is a primecbject of the present invention to provide a mail box with simple mechanism for signalling that mail has been deposited in the box by the postman.

A further object is to provide signalling mechn anism of this kind that is protected against accidental or unauthorized actuation.

Another object is to provide such signalling mechanism that can be installed in the ordinary mail boxes without the necessity of drilling holes in or changing the appearance of the front wall of the box.

Yet another object is to provide signalling mechanism of this kind that is simple in construc- 5 to follow taken in connection with the accomlli panying drawing in which- Fig. 1 is a face view of a mail box embodying my invention, and showing diagrammatically the system of electrical connections employed in applying the invention thereto.

Fig. 2 is a fragmentary face view showing one of the compartments of the box with the door for the upper part of the box open and the door for the lower part of the compartment closed, parts being broken away.

Fig. 3 is a similar view with the door for the upper part of the box closed and the door for the lower part of the compartment open.

Fig. 4 is a detail sectional view showing the switching device.

Fig. 5 is a top plan view of the sliding plate.

Fig. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view throughl oneof the compartments.

Referring to the drawing, the improved mail box 5. is formed of metal and has a `number of compartments 6. Three of such compartments are shown but it lwill be understood that any desired number may be provided depending upon the number of apartments in the house.

Each compartment includes a top wall 1, bottom wall s, side walls 9, rear wall I0 and is open at the front.

A door i l hinged at its bottom edge to a bar I2 extending across the compartments closes the upper open fronts of the compartments. This door is to be opened by the postman with a key inserted through the keyhole I3. When opening, the door is swung downwardly exposing the front of all of the compartments.

The bottom portion of each compartment below the lower edge of the door II is closed by an individual door I4 which is hinged at its upper edge to a transverse bar I5 positioned alongside of the bar I 2. Each compartment door I4 is provided with a keyhole I6 adjacent its lower edge for opening and closing the lock of said door. A slotted portion I'I is provided near the bottom of each door for holding an identication card or the like for identifying the owner of the particular compartment. When opening the door I II, it is swung upwardly exposing the front of the lower part of the compartment.

The present invention is concerned with apparatus for signalling or indicating when the postman has placed mail in the respective compartments of the mail box for the tenants. For this purpose, I have mounted an electrical switching device I3 on the upper wall of each compartment 6, adjacent the front wall thereof. Each switching device I8 is in electrical circuit with a lamp I9 positioned in any desired room in the apartment for controlling the lighting of such lamp.

The switching device comprises an insulating f, housing 2t suitably mounted on the upper surface of the top wall of the compartment 6. This housing is provided with suitable stationary contact members 2| bridged by a movable contact member 22. The stationary contact members 2I are '3 electrically connected to their respective lamp I9 by the usual feed and return lines 23 and 24, respectively. The circuit includes a step-down transformer 25 whereby the ordinary house supply of electricity may be used. Depending from the housing through an opening in the top wall of the compartment and extending into the cornpartment is a sleeve member 26. Movable in said sleeve member and protruding below the same is a plunger 21. The plunger is operatively connected to the movable switch contact member and is normally pressed downwardly by a spring 28 thereby normally pulling the movable contact member down into contact with the stationary contact members to close the circuit through the lamp.

A plate 29 is slidably mounted on guide rods 30 extending from the top to the bottom of each compartment G at each side thereof near the front. The rods pass through guide sleeves 3| secured to the rear of the plate adjacent its side edges. The plate is about half the length of the compartment and is therefore adapted to close off the upper or the lower part of the compartment as desired. Suitably fastened to the rear of the plate and extending rearwardly thereof adjacent the top edge of the plate is a stud or extension 32. This stud is in alignment with the plunger 21 of the switching device so that said plunger is in the path of movement of the extension or stud when it is carried up by the plate. y

The plate will slide downwardly or fall by the pressure exerted by the postman and by gravity to its lowermost position such as shown in Fig. 3, the downward movement being limited by the lower edge of the plate engaging a sleeve member 33 on one of the rods 30, adjacent its bottom end. When in this position, access may be had to the upper part of the compartment for placing mail therein which of course drops to the bottom part of the compartment. When mail has been placed in the compartment, the upper door ll is closed and locked by the postman, leaving the plate in its lowermost position and leaving the circuit through the lamp closed and the lamp lit. The tenant is thus given a visible signal that mail has been placed in his compartment in the mail box.

In order to get his mail in his compartment, the tenant must open the door I4 to his respective compartment. When he unlocks the door, he is confronted with the plate 29as shown in Fig, 3 which blocks access to the bottom part of the compartment and to the mail. In order to get access to his mail, the tenant must remove the plate. This he does by placing his hand under the lower edge of the plate and pushing the plate upwardly to uppermost position as shown in Fig. 2 whereby it moves the plunger Yupwardly to break the circuit through the lamp thereby extinguishing same, and thereby resetting the mechanism'for the next trip of the postinan.

In using the improved mail box, the plate 29 is normally pushed upwardly to its uppermost position so that the stud 32 engages the plunger 21- and moves it upwardly carrying with it the movable contact member out of contact with the stationary contact members of the switch to open the circuit through the lamp. The plate is held in thiscircuit breaking position by a spring finger or clip 313 made of spring steel and .mounted on the side wall of the compartment adjacent its upper end and adapted to seat in a notch 35 formed in the adjacent side edge of the plate.

When the postmanrdelivers the mail, he opens the upper door il and is confronted with a plate 29 in each compartment thereby blocking oi entrance to the upper part of the compartment as shown in Fig. 2. In order to place mail in the compartment, it is necessary to remove the plate and this is done by sliding the plate downwardly on its guide rods 3G; The upper edge of the plate is formed with a cut-away portion 36 to facilitate this downward push on the plate. Upon pushing the Yplate downwardly, the stud 32 on 4 the plate is carried away from the plunger 21 which is then automatically forced downwardly by its spring 28 thereby moving the movable contact member into contact with the stationary contacts of the switch to close the circuit through the lamp for lighting the same.

The plate may have the words "Push Down" on its face adjacent its upper end and the words Push Up adjacent its lower end for instruction purposes.

Another important feature of the present improved box is the means for identifying the owner of the respective compartments 6 in the box, In the ordinary mail boxes of this type, when the hinged upper cover Il is swung downwardly the name cards in the slotted portions Il are hidden from view :of the postman with the result that he must bend down to look under the open door or swing the door back again in order to get a view of the name cards. I have overcome this `diiiiculty by placing a slotted frame member 31 on the face of the plate 29 to receive an identiication card so that the postman can see at a glance who is the owner of the respective compartment without the necessity of bending down or swinging the door back.

I claim:

1. In a mail box having a mail compartment with a door opening into the upper portion of the compartment for insertion of mail and a door opening into the lower portion thereof for removal of the mail, an electric switch in circuit with a signalling lamp, and having a plunger member in said compartment operatively connected to the movable contact of the switch, a manually slidable plate in said compartment normally in engagement with said plunger member for breaking the connection between the stationary and movable contacts of said switch and normally closing the opening in the upper portion of the compartment when its door is open, said plate being adapted to be moved downwardly in the compartment for closing the opening in the lower portion thereof when its door is open and spring means for moving said plunger downwardly to close the connection between said stationary and movable contacts upon downward movement of said plate.

2. In a mail box having a mail compartment with a door opening into the upper portion of the compartment for insertion of mail and a door opening into the lower portion thereof for removal of the mail, an electric switch in circuit with a signalling lamp, and having a stationary contact, a movable Contact and a plunger member in said compartment operatively connected to the movable contact of the switch, a manually slidable plate in said compartment normally in engagement with said plunger member for breaking the connection between the stationary and movable contacts of said switch and normally closing the opening in the upper portion of the compartment when its door is open, said plate being adapted to be moved downwardly in the compartment for closing the opening in the lower portion thereof when its door is open, spring means for moving said plunger downwardly to close the connection between said stationary and movable contacts upon downward movement of said plate and spring means for preventing accidental movement of said plate away from said plunger member.

3. In a mail box having a mail compartment with a door opening into the upper portion of the compartment for the insertion of mail and a door opening into the lower portion thereof for removal of the mail, an electric switch in circuit with a signalling lamp and having a stationary Contact, a movable contact and a plunger in said compartment operatively connected to said movable Contact, an elongated manually slidable plate in said compartment, said plate being so positioned in said compartment that it normally engages said plunger for opening the circuit through said signalling lamp and normally closes the opening at the upper portion of the compartment when its door is open so that it must be removed for the insertion of mail thereinto, said plate when so removed being adapted to close the opening in the lower portion of said compartment so that it must be removed therefrom for the removal of the mail and whereby upon removal it engages said plunger for breaking the circuit through said lamp and spring means for preventing accidental movement of the plate away from the plunger.

4. In a mail box having a mail compartment with a door opening into the upper portion of the compartment for the insertion of mail and a door opening into the lower portion thereof for removal of the mail, an electric switch in circuit with a signalling lamp and having a stationary Contact, a movable contact and a plunger in said compartment operatively connected to said movable contact, an elongated manually slidable plate in said compartment, said plate being so positioned in said compartment that it normally engages said plunger for opening the circuit through said signalling lamp and normally closes the opening at the upper portion of the compartment when its door is open so that it must be removed for the insertion of mail thereinto, said plate when so removed being adapted to close the opening in the lower portion of the compartment so that it must be removed therefrom for the removal of the mail and whereby upon removal it engages said plunger for breaking the circuit through said lamp, spring means for preventing accidental movement of said plate away from the plunger and means for guiding the movement of said plate, said plate having a cut-out portion in its upper edge to facilitate insertion of a nger to exert pressure on the plate.

5. In a mail box having a plurality of mail compartments with a single hinged door at the upper portion of said box opening into the upper portions of said compartments for the insertion of mail, each of said compartments having an individual hinged door opening into the lower portion of said compartment for the removal of mail, an electric switch associated with each of said compartments and being in circuit with a signalling lamp, each switch having a stationary contact, a movable contact and a plunger in its compartment, an elongated manually slidable plate in each of said compartments, said plate being so positioned in the compartment that it normally engages the plunger in said compartment for opening the circuit through its respective signalling lamp and normally closing the opening of the upper portion of said compartment when the upper door of the mail box is open so that said plate must be removed for the insertion of mail in said compartment, said plate when so removed being adapted to close the opening in the lower portion of its compartment so that it must be removed for the removal of the mail and whereby upon removal it engages the plunger in said compartment for breaking the circuit through its associated lamp and means in each of said compartments for preventing accidental movement of its respective plate away from the plunger.

6. A mail box as defined in claim 5 characterized by a frame member on the face of each plate adjacent its upper end for receiving a card for identifying the owner of said compartment when the upper door of the mail box is open.

MICHAEL DONADIO.

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

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 227,005 Herndon Apr. 27, 1880 433,560 Detwiller Aug. 5, 1890 618,846 Crowder Feb. 7, 1899 675,753 Myer June 4, 1901 1,005,004 Diemer Oct. 3, 1911 1,021,100 Hopkins Mar. 26, 1912 1,620,474 Kriek Mar. 8, 1927 1,976,117 Cassel Oct. 9, 1934

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US227005 *Mar 2, 1880Apr 27, 1880 Alarm letter-box
US433560 *Aug 5, 1890 Electric-alarm letter-box
US618846 *Oct 14, 1897Feb 7, 1899 Post-office depository
US675753 *Feb 4, 1901Jun 4, 1901Clayton Pittinger MyerMail-box.
US1005004 *Mar 2, 1911Oct 3, 1911Gustav Henry DiemerMail-box alarm.
US1021100 *Apr 1, 1910Mar 26, 1912Solomon S HopkinsCombination mail-box and signaling mechanism.
US1620474 *Jun 30, 1924Mar 8, 1927Edward N HarberGang mail box
US1976117 *Apr 20, 1931Oct 9, 1934Cassel James AMail box and indicator
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3318516 *Sep 16, 1966May 9, 1967Otto Scheerer ErnestRural mail boxes
US3556394 *Dec 18, 1968Jan 19, 1971Caldes Constantine AAudible house alarm for rural mail boxes
US3819109 *Nov 21, 1972Jun 25, 1974Ucciardino AMailbox array
US5440294 *May 20, 1993Aug 8, 1995Mercier; Ellen L.Mail delivery signal system
US7671276Nov 28, 2007Mar 2, 2010Baker David LArmed junction box enclosure
US20090133610 *Nov 28, 2007May 28, 2009Baker David Larmed junction box enclosure
USD745765 *Jun 2, 2014Dec 15, 2015United States Postal ServiceCluster box mail delivery unit
USD785274Dec 15, 2015Apr 25, 2017United States Postal ServiceCluster box mail delivery unit
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/25, 232/35, 340/569, 200/61.63
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/1201
European ClassificationA47G29/12M