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Publication numberUS2808982 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 8, 1957
Filing dateSep 14, 1954
Priority dateSep 14, 1954
Publication numberUS 2808982 A, US 2808982A, US-A-2808982, US2808982 A, US2808982A
InventorsArmstrong William T
Original AssigneeArmstrong William T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic mailbox signal
US 2808982 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct 8, 195 7 w. T. ARMSTRONG 2,808,982

. AUTOMATIC MAILBOX SIGNAL Filed Sept. 14, 1954 1 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Oct. 8, 1957 w. T. ARMSTRONG v 8,

AUTOMATIC MAILBOX SIGNAL Filed Sept 14, 1954 s sheets sheet 2 Oct. 8, 1957 w. T. ARMSTRONG AUTOMATIC MAILBOX SIGNAL 3 Sheets-Sheet s v Filed Sept. 14; 1954 IN VEN TOR.

United States Patent f AUTOMATIC MAEBOX SIGNAL William T. Armstrong, Prairie View, Ill. Applicationseptemb'er 1451954,'SerialNo. 455,901

s Claims. (Cl. 232==35 Tli'epresent invention rlate'sto an automatic mailbox signal and more particularly to a rural mailbox signal which may be mounted on any conventional mailbox and which moves aut'omatically'to signalling position in response to actuation or the door of the rural mailbox.

'Itis well-recogni'z'ed'thatthe owner of a rural mailbox has no knowledge of when mail or other matter has been deposited inhism'ailbox by the mail carrier. In anticipation of "the mail delivery, the owner usually "makes repeated trips to the mailbox to'ascertain whether "or not mail has "been deposited. 'He can many times seethebox 'fromwithin liis home, but unless he-actually 's'ees'the'mailrnan depositthe mail he remains in ignoactuated to signalling position without any extra effort on'the part ofthe mailman. Additionally, such a signal should be capable of being associated withany conventional mailbox in a simple manner preferably without the requirementof any tools or -the alternation of the mailbox in any manner.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved mailbox signal whichmay readily be associated with the mailbox, without the necessity of altering any .part of a-conventional=mral mailboxand preferably without the requirement of any toolswhatever.

It is another object of thepresehtinvention toprovide a-simple folded signalling devicefor a mailbox which will be actuatedto a signalling .position by an exceptionally simple mode of operation, as relative movement occurs between two parts of a mailbox.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved signal for a mailbox-which'will operate automatically when the mail carrier performs the single necessary op eration of actuating the cover of the mailbox While depositing mail therein. I

Still another'object of the presentinvention is to provide an improved mailbox signal which is clearly visible 'at a substantial distance from the mailbox when in the signalling'position and yet which is completely hidden and fairly well protected from the elementsof nature when in the non-signalling position.

Another object of thepresent invention resides in the provision of improved operational parts for a mailbox signal so as to increase its operational reliability and secure successfulperformance under any weather conditions and at the same time to simplify the manufacturing and assembling procedures.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved gravity actuated mailbox signal which can readily be attached to any existing mailbox.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as thefollowingdescription 2,808,982 Patented Oct. 8, 1957 proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize the invention will be pointed out with particularity in the c'laims'annnexed to and-forming apart of the specification.

6 For a better understanding of the present invention, reference maybe had to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of theconventional rural mailbox shownwith itscoverin the closed .positionand having associated therewith one embodiment of the mailbox signal of the-present invention illustrated inits non-signalling position;

Fig. 2 is a fragmentaryperspective view substantially identic'al to Fig. 1-but with the cover of the mailbox illustrated in the open position and with the'mailbox signal actuated to its signallingposition;

Fig. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view substantially identical to Fig. 1 with the cover of the mailbox inthe closedposition and withthe mailbox signal in its signalling position;

-Fig. 4 is an enlarged back elevational viewof the mailbox'signal-only-of Fig. 1 inthe position of Fig. 1;

Fig. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line Zv'5 of Fig. 4 with anassociatedportion of themailbox showninsection.

Fig. A 6 is a fra-gmentary; perspective of A a rural mailbox with it s coverin theclosedi position and having associated therewith a modification 0f-the rnailbox signal of themescnt invention with .t-he -sig-nal illustrated-in its non-signal- 'lingposition;

7 is a 'fragmentaryiperspective view substantially identical with Fig. 6-but with thesignal actuated to its unfolded signalling position;

I Fig. 8is-an enlargedbackelevational view-of the'rnailbox signal only-of Fig. 6 'in theipositioniof-Fig. 6;

i Fig. 9 is an-enlarged sectional view taken on line 9 9 of Fig. 8 with an associated: portion of-themailb'ox shown in -section;

Fig. 10 is a fragmentary perspective view of a conventional rural -mailbox having associated therewith another embodiment 0f the mailbox signal'of the "present invention illustrated -in its non-signalling .position;

Fig. 1 1 is a-fragmentaryperspective view-substantially identical with-Fig. l0-but with thesignal in. its signalling position;

Fig. 12 is an enlarged back =elevational viewof the mailbox signalonlyof Fig. 10 in the-position ofFig. 10;

Fig. 13 is anenlarged sectional -view taken along-the 5O line-13-13-of-Fig. 12 with anassociated'portion of the mailbox shown in-section;

Fig. 14 isa fragmentary perspective'view of a conventional rural mailboxhavingassociated therewith "stillaanother embodiment of the mailbox signal of the present invention with the signal illustratedin its non-signalling pos tion;

Fig. 15 is-a-fragmentaryperspective view substantially identical with Fig. -14-but with the mailbox signal illustrated in its signallingposition;

Fig. 16 is an enlarged-back elevational view-of the mailbox signal only-of-Fig. 1'4 inthe1position 'of'Fig. 1'4; and

Fig. 17 is a sectional view taken alonglin'e :1717 of Fig. 1 6 with an associated pportion ofthe mailbox shownin section.

Referring now tothedrawings, thereis generally 1 illustrated a'folded signal securedto amovabl'c portion of the'mailbox, which signal is automatically actuated to itssignallingposition by the-action'of :gravity'when the-mailbox cover is opened. The signalm'ay be secured to the mailbox in different ways-'asdescribed'in Idetai-l hereinafter. The :folded signal includes a signalling element which is pivotally connected at its'lower endwhen in the non-signalling position to the rest of the signal so that under the force of gravity it will automatically pivot about its lower end and depend downwardly to a signalling position.

Referring specifically now to the drawings, there is illustrated in Figs. 1 through 5, inclusive, a first embodiment of the automatic mailbox signal of the present invention. This signal generally indicated at 10 is associated with the cover 11 of a conventional mailbox 12. As will be understood, the rural mailbox 12 of the conventional type consists of an elongated closed receptacle for the storage of mail and other matter whose parallel, rectangular longitudinal sides extend upward to form a half cylindrical top. The back end of the receptacle is closed by an end wall (not shown) while the bottom is closed by a wall 13. The front open end is closed by the cover 11 which is adapted to be pivoted at its lower end about a hinged pivot pin 11a between a closed, substantially-vertical position as shown in Figs. 1 and 3 of the drawings to an open, substantially-horizontal position as shown in Fig. 2. Preferably the mailbox 12 is provided with suitable latching means for maintaining the cover 11 in the closed position. Such latching means preferably comprises cooperating spring clips 14 and 15, secured to the cover 11 and box 12, respectively, which are readily releasable means conventionally employed with such mailboxes.

The rural mailbox automatic signal 10 of the present invention illustrated as associated with the mailbox 12 includes a signalling element 16 pivotally mounted by hinge means 17 to an intermediate support element 18, hereinafter referred to as intermediate element 18, which, in turn, is pivotally connected to a signal mounting element 19, hereinafter referred to as mounting element 19, suitably secured to the mailbox 12.

In order to afiix the mailbox signal 10 to the cover 11 of said mailbox 12, without the use of any tools and without altering the mailbox in any way, the mounting element 19 is illustrated as a U-shaped wire element having the ends of each arm of the U formed into a closed loop 19a. These closed loops 19a provide pivotal connections with the intermediate element 18 which is provided with cooperating openings 18a to receive the loops 19a. The arms of the U-shaped support adjacent the bight portion are folded back to form a pocket 20 best shown in Fig. 5 of the drawings clampingly to receive therein the lower edge of the cover 11 of mailbox 12. Preferably, the mounting element 19 is formed of somewhat resilient or spring wire to insure good clamping action with the cover 11. It will be apparent that the mounting element 19 can be secured to this cover 11 merely by forcing the lower edge of the cover into the pocket 20 which comprises an upward movement of the mounting element 19 as viewed in Fig. 1 of the drawings. The resilient nature of the mounting element 19 will cause it firmly to grip the cover 11 as if it were integrally united therewith.

To provide a folded signal the intermediate element 18 is pivoted at its upper edge to the mounting element 19. When the cover 11 is closed as shown in Fig. l the intermediate element 18 hangs vertically parallel to the cover 11. When, however, the cover 11 is open as shown in Fig. 2 the intermediate element 18 again hangs vertically but now it is substantially perpendicular with the cover 11. In other words, the intermediate element 18 hangs freely and remains in a consistently, substantially-vertical position during the pivotal rotation of both the mailbox cover 11 and the attached mounting element 19. In short, the angle of incidence between the intermediate element 18 and the cover 11 will range from to 90 as the mailbox cover 11 is pivotally rotated from its closed, substantially-vertical position to its open, substantially-horizontal position.

To pivotally connect the lower edge of the signalling element 16 as viewed in Figs. 1 and of the drawings,

which is illustrated as a generally rectangular member, but which might have any other shape, to the intermediate element 18 the hinge means 17 are provided which merely may be wire loops extending through cooperating openings 16a and 18b in the elements 16 and 18, respectively, at the adjacent edges thereof. The hinged relationship of the elements 16 and 18 provides the folded signal of the present invention which may assume a folded or overlapping non-signalling position or an unfolded or extended signalling position.

When the mailbox cover 11 is in a closed position and the signal 10 is in the folded non-signalling position, the signalling element 16 is disposed in a substantially vertical plane, between the cover 11 and the intermediate element 18 which intermediate element hides it from view. The force of gravity maintains the element 18 vertical under these conditions and prevents the signalling element 16 from moving out of this non-signalling position. When, however, the cover 11 is moved to the open position, the intermediate element 18 tends to stay vertical with the result that it swings away relative to the cover 11 and no longer restrains the signalling element 16 between it and the cover 11, whereupon the signalling element 16 pivots about pivot means 17 to the extended or unfolded position shown in Fig. 2 of the drawings. Even after the cover 11 has been moved to the closed position as shown in Fig. 3, the signalling element 16 in its unfolded signalling position extends below the bottom of the mailbox 12 and provides notice to all that a mail delivery has been made or at least that the cover 11 has been actuated.

Preferably the signalling element 16, at least on the surface exposed when in its signalling position, but usually on both surfaces, is provided with a readily visible surface. These surfaces might be colored a bright, readily visible color or preferably there might be applied thereto some paint or fabric which can be seen for substantial distances. Such material is indicated in somewhat of an X pattern and designated at 22 in the drawings.

The mailbox signal 10 may be easily reset to the nonsignalling position of Fig. l by a simple manual operation. When the mailbox cover 11 is in the closed position one can merely pivot the signalling element 16 about hinge means 17 behind the element 18. When the mailbox cover 11 is in the open position one can similarly pivot the signalling element 16 behind the intermediate element 18 and then hold these elements in this position while moving the mailbox cover 11 from its open position to its closed position.

In view of the detailed description included above the operation of the folded signal means 10 will readily be understood and hence no further discussion will be included herewith. It will be appreciated, however, that a very simple signal means is provided which can be attached to a mailbox in a simple manner without the requirement of any tool. The operation of the signal is positive and resetting is very simple. It can readily be applied to any new or old mailbox.

It will be understood that the intermediate element 18 of Figs. 1 to 5 is merely a support for the signalling element 16 and it need not take the rectangular form illustrated. Thus, in Figs. 6 to 9, of the drawings there is illustrated a modification of the mailbox signal 10 generally designated as 10 in which every element with the exception of the intermediate element 18 is the same as in the preceding embodiment. The corresponding parts of Figs. 6 to 9 are designated by the same reference numerals as in the preceding figures. Instead of the intermediate element 18 which merely acts as a support for the signalling element 16 there is provided another intermediate element in the form of a pair of parallel wire-like elements 23 and 24 provided with loops 23a and 2441, respectively, at the upper ends and loops 23b and 241'; at the lower ends, respectively, thereof.

mounting element 19 by engagement with the loops 19a of mounting element 19 as clearly shown in Figs. 6, 7 and 9 of the drawings. The loops 23b and 24b similarly make hinging connection with the lower edge as viewed in Figs. 6 and 9 of the signalling element 16 by engaging the openings 16a therein. The functional operation of the parallel members 23 and 24 is identical to the functional operation of intermediate element 18 described heretofore.

In the arrangements described thus far the mailbox signals 1t) and are designed for frictional attachment to any conventional rural mailbox which can be accomplished without the use of tools and without altering the mailbox in any way. For factory installation of the foldable signal of the present invention the mounting element 19 could have many forms, one of which is shown in Figs. 10 to 13 of the drawings. This signal generally indicated by the reference numeral 25, is identical with the signal 10 just described except that instead of the mounting element 19 a mounting element 27 is provided. The corresponding parts of Figs. 10 to 13 are designated by the same reference numerals as in Figs. 6 to 9 of the drawings.

As illustrated, the mounting element 27 is of somewhat V-shape with the apex of the V formed into a loop 27a and the ends of the arms of the V each provided with a loop 27b. The loop 27a may be secured to the cover 11 of the mailbox by a rivet screw or other fastening means specifically indicated as a bolt 29. The loops 27b are hingedly related to the parallel supports 23 and 24 just as these supports were hinged to the mounting element 19 in the preceding embodiment. It will be understood that the mounting element 27 might be dispensed with and instead loops from the cover 11 could be punched out to hinge with the intermediate element which intermediate element could be the members 23 and 24 of the intermediate element 18. Moreover, the mailbox signal 25 can be attached by the mailbox owner to an existing box merely by drilling a small hole in the cover 11 and attaching the signal with the bolt 29. The functional operation of the mailbox signal 25 is identical with that described for the signals 10 and 10.

In Figs. 14 to 17 of the drawings there is illustrated still another embodiment of the present invention employing a foldable signalling element with modified means for securing the same to a mailbox. This signal generally designated at 30, comprises the intermediate support element 18 of Fig. 1 hingedly related to the signalling element 16 by the hinge loops 17. Instead of the mounting element 19 an entirely different mounting element 31 is provided comprising a plate 31a and an extension member 31b one end of which is secured to the plate 31a and the other end of which is terminated in a hook 32. This hook 32 is adapted to receive therein the lower edge of the mailbox cover 11. Unlike the mounting element 19 this hook alone will not secure the mounting element 31 to the cover 11. To further secure the mounting element 31 there is provided a tension spring 34 having one end connected to the plate 31a and the other end connected to a hook member 35 which is shaped to readily engage the latch memher or spring clip 14 which is conventionally provided on rural mailboxes. The tension spring therefor maintains the hook 32 in engagement with the lower edge of the mailbox cover 11 thus firmly supporting the mailbox signal 30 in position. Suitable hinge member 36 hingedly relate the intermediate element 18 and the plate 31a. The mailbox signal 36, except for the means of supporting the same from the mailbox, functions in exactly the same way as in the preceding embodiments.

It will be appreciated that the intermediate element 18 which is always visible provides an excellent surface to which the mailbox owners name may be applied. In Figs. 14 and 15 of the drawings there is illustrated the indicia 40 which can be applied directly to the plate or intermediate element 18 or which may be on a separate plate 41 suitably secured to the intermediate element 18.

While there have been illustrated several embodiments of the mailbox signal of the present invention, it will be apparent that numerous changes and modifications thereof will occur to those skilled in the art. It is aimed in the appended claims to cover all those changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.

What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. In a mailbox of the type having a pivotally mounted cover disposed in a generally vertical position when closed and movable to a nonvertical position when opened, a mailbox signal comprising a signal mounting element including means for securing said element to said pivotally mounted cover, a gravity-actuated signal ing element movable between a signaling and a nonsignaling position, an intermediate support element pivotally mounted at its upper end to said mounting element to swing about a horizontal axis parallel to the pivotal axis of said cover in order to be pivoted relative to said cover incident to its opening, the lower end of said intermediate support element pivotally supporting said signaling element at one end thereof in its nonsignaling position between said intermediate element and said cover and in its signalling position beneath said intermediate support element, said intermediate support element pivoting relative to said cover during opening movement of said cover to permit said signaling element to pivot about the lower end of said intermediate support element under the force of gravity into its sig naling position.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said signaling element is pivotally supported by hinge means interconnecting the lower end of said intermediate support element and one end of said signaling element.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein said signal mounting element is removably secured to said cover.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,483,255 Tonge Feb. 12, 1924 2,438,314 Dalton Mar. 23, 1948 2,581,880 Price Jan. 8, 1952 2,707,075 Van Duzer Apr. 26, 1955

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1483255 *May 1, 1923Feb 12, 1924Frank TongeLid holder
US2438314 *Sep 20, 1945Mar 23, 1948Dalton Joseph PSignal staff holding finger
US2581880 *May 18, 1950Jan 8, 1952Lawson PriceAutomatic rural mailbox signal
US2707075 *Jul 29, 1949Apr 26, 1955Duzer Lyle J VanDoor controlled signal for mail box
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2834540 *Aug 27, 1957May 13, 1958Hudgins Peter DDoor-opening attachment for ruraltype mailboxes
US2856123 *May 16, 1957Oct 14, 1958Mary William JMailbox signal
US3017073 *Apr 8, 1960Jan 16, 1962Piergiovanni Augie AMailbox signal
US3176918 *Dec 27, 1962Apr 6, 1965Posch Louis JHouseholder's mailbox pick-up signal
US3426966 *May 26, 1967Feb 11, 1969Lay Norman WRural mailbox signals
US3709189 *Dec 20, 1971Jan 9, 1973Widham EMail delivery signal device
US3960316 *Apr 12, 1974Jun 1, 1976Echterling Hubert HNewspaper arrival indicators
US4182479 *Oct 30, 1978Jan 8, 1980Swift Logan DMailbox signal
US4262839 *Jul 20, 1979Apr 21, 1981Walter WisniewskiMail delivery indicator
US4279380 *Jan 31, 1980Jul 21, 1981Husted Douglas PMail box signal unit
US4492335 *Nov 9, 1983Jan 8, 1985Davis Bobby VMailbox signaling device
US4655390 *Sep 8, 1986Apr 7, 1987Martin Elbert TMailbox signal device
US4708286 *Dec 15, 1986Nov 24, 1987Norris James EMail-call signal device
US5524818 *Nov 9, 1995Jun 11, 1996Patry; Michael J.Outgoing mail signal device
US5634589 *Mar 19, 1996Jun 3, 1997Greene; Don L.Clamp on mail box delivery signal accessory
US5660327 *May 23, 1995Aug 26, 1997Brinkley, Jr.; Amiel W.Mailbox delivered mail signal
US6425521 *Jun 9, 2000Jul 30, 2002Gary E. CooperMailbox indicator flag
US7261234 *Oct 19, 2006Aug 28, 2007Mahajan Shekhar GStop device for a mailbox hook
U.S. Classification232/35
International ClassificationA47G29/122, A47G29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/121
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2