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Publication numberUS2835887 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 20, 1958
Filing dateDec 30, 1955
Priority dateDec 30, 1955
Publication numberUS 2835887 A, US 2835887A, US-A-2835887, US2835887 A, US2835887A
InventorsSeeley Belle G, Seeley Ivan L
Original AssigneeSeeley Belle G, Seeley Ivan L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mailbox with mail-actuated signal
US 2835887 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 20, 1958 l. L. SEELEY ET AL 2,835,887


MAILBOX wrm MAIL-ACTUATED SIGNAL 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed D86. 30, 1955 IN VEN TORS ATTORNEYS w. Y a L w s s y se. w NLY mmw w United States Patent Oi'fice 2,835,887 Patented May 20, 1958 IHAILBOX WITH MAIL-ACTUATED SIGNAL Ivan L. Seeley and Belle G. Seeley, Sedona, Ariz.

Application December 30, 1955, Serial No. 556,592

2 Claims. (Cl. 340-281) The present invention relates to mail boxes, particularly those of the type used in rural sections, which often are located some distances from the residence.

It is a continuing inconvenience for rural mail box holders to walk the substantial distance from the residence to the road at which the mail box is generally located, for the purpose of ascertaining if any mail has been delivered. Often, no mail has been delivered, and under these circumstances it is of course desirable to know before one leaves the residence if there has been a delivery of mail to the box.

The main object of the present invention is to provide a generally improved signal device for association with mail boxes, which will provide a visible signal adapted to be readily seen from the residence, whenever mail is inserted in the box.

Another object is to provide a device of the type referred to which will be actuated by the mail itself. This is desirable, since if the signal were to be actuated, for example, by opening or closing of the mail box door, the signal would operate even if the door is open only for the purpose of extracting mail that is to be sent, rather than for the purpose of delivering letters, newspapers, etc.

Another object is to provide a device of the type referred to which will occupy a relatively small amount of space within the mail box, so that there will be no appreciable reduction of the mail-receiving area ofthe box.

Still another object is to provide a construction of the type referred to which can be embodied in conventional mail boxes, without requiring modification or redesign thereof. The device is so formed, in this regard, as to be capable of preassembly as a unit, and then inserted bodily in the mail box, without requirement of doing more than drilling small holes for mounting of the signal upon the top of the box.

Still another object is to provide, in the unit, means for supporting a letter that is to be mailed, out of contact with the signal-actuating means, so that there will be no accidental operation of the signal by mail which is to be sent, as distinguished from mail which has been delivered.

Still another object is to so form the holder for mail that is to be removed by the mailman, as to conveniently support the mail in position where it can be readily grasped by the mailman.

Still another object is to provide a device of. the nature referred to which will include a pivoted plate so disposed that mail deposited in the mail box will naturally gravitate to said plate, for the purpose of actuating the same to a position in which it will close contacts that cause energizing. of a signal visible from the residence, said plate being so mounted as to be adjustable to a fine degree, with respect to the amount of weight which must be deposited thereon for the purpose of swinging the same to a contact closi'ng position. In this way, it is proposed to permit the signal to be actuated even when a very light letter is deposited upon the plate.

Other objects will appear from the following description, the claims appended thereto, and from the annexed drawing, in which like reference characters designate like parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

Figure l is a perspective view of a mailbox formed according to the present invention, a portion of thehollow body of the box being broken away to show the device constituting the present invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view through the mailbox and signal device, taken su'bstan tially on line 2-2 of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a transverse sectional view, on the same scale as Figure 2, taken on line 3-3 of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a longitudinal section on line 4-4 of Figure 2, illustrating the signal device in top plan;

Figure 5 is an exploded perspective view of the signal device per se; and

Figure 6 is an enlarged, detail sectional view through the contact carried by the base of the signal device.

Referring to the drawings in detail, the reference numeral it} designates a post or standard, projecting up wardly from the ground, and secured to the upper end of the post is a horizontally disposed, fiat mail box support 12 on which is mounted in a horizontal position a mail box generally designated 14.

The mail box 3.4 is of wholly conventional construction, considered per se, and includes a flat, rectangular floor or bottom wall 16. A piece of sheet metal is bent transversely to provide a body portion 18 defining the side Walls 2i} and the top wall of the mail box, and at one end, said piece of sheet metal is secured to an end wal122.

This provides a hollow body, composed of the floor 16, side and top walls, and end wall 22, and at one end, said body is formed open. A door 24 is hingedly connected to the side walls 20 by means of pins 26, and is normally closed by means of a latch 28, so as to close the hollow body of the mail box at the open end thereof.

All this is conventional construction, and has been described so as to show the applicability of the signal device to a conventional mail boxthat is already in use.

The signal device constituting the present invention has been generally designated by the reference numeral 30,- and includes a base plate 32 of flat, rectangular formation adapted to overlie substantially the full area of the bottom wall it? of the mail box. Formed upon the opposite side edges of the base plate are upwardly projected flanges 34 rigidifying the base plate, and at one end, the base plate has an upstanding wall 36, the flanges 34 merging into side flanges 38 of said wall.

A strap do is carried by wall 36, to hold thereagainst a flashing device 42 of the type adapted to alternately make and break a circuit. Adjacent the flashing device there is provided a bracket 44 in which is supported a battery from one post of which extends a lead 48. A lead 50 extends from one terminal of the flashing device and extends with thelead 48 to an electric lamp bulb 52. I

Extending from the other terminal of the battery is a lead 54 which is soldered directly to the base plate 32 A lead 55 extends from the other terminal of the flasher device 512, to a contact to be described in detail hereinf transversely extending bar 64 of right-angled cross section, having spaced notches 62 therein receiving the leads 54';

56 respectively. The bar 64 constitutes a stop limiting L downward swinging movement of the adjacent end of a pivoted plate, to be described in detail hereinafter.

Forwardly of the hinge brackets 58, 60 there is provided a transversely extending bar 68 of angle-shaped cross section, having a notch 66 receiving the lead 56. Lead 56 extends through notch 66, to an electrically conductive contact 70 formed in the illustrated example as a screw (Figure 6). The contact extends through a grommet 72 of electrically insulative material, so as to prevent an electrical connection between the contact 70 and the base plate 32. A nut is threaded upon the contact, to hold the lead 56 thereupon.

The signal lamp bulb 52 is disposed in a housing 74,

which is swiveled upon a bracket 75 attached to the top wall of the mail box. Thus, the housing 75 can be turned'in any direction, so as to face the particular residence using the mail box. A pivoted plate 76, overlying substantially the full area of the base plate 32, has upwardly flanged sides 77 rigidifyingthe same. To the underside of plate 76 there are secured hinge sleeves 78 aligning with the sleeves 58, 60 to receive a hinge pin 80. The pivoted plate is thus mounted for up-and-down swinging movement upon the base plate.

Secured to the plate 76, above the hinge axis thereof, isatransversely extending bracket 82 of right-angled cross section, and extending parallel to the bracket adjacent the same is a weight 84. Projecting forwardly from the weight is a screw 86, extending through a smoothwalled opening formed in the upwardly projecting flange portion of. the bracket 82. A wing nut 88 is threaded upon the screw, and a compression coil spring 90 is interposed between the flange portion and the weight so as to normally bias the weight away from the bracket 82.

It will be seen that on turning of the wing nut in one direction, the spring 90 will be permitted to expand, shifting weight 85 away from the bracket 82, that is, away from the pivot axis of the plate 76. On rotation of the Wing nut in a direction to take up the spring, the weight 84 will be shifted toward said hinge axis. 1 This permits a balanced mounting of the plate 76 upon the base plate, so that ordinarily, plate 76 will swing upwardly at the front end thereof, that is, at the end adjacentdoor 24. However, whenever even a small weight is'imposed upon the portion of plate 76 disposed to the left-of the pivot axis thereof, viewing the same as in Figural, the plate will swing downwardly at its dooradjacent ends. Thus,'the deposit of even a single letter L of light weight will cause the plate 76 to swing downwardly at its door-engaging end, into engagement with the upwardly projecting contact 70.

, As a result, a circuit is closed to the signal lamp, which will go on and ofi due to the provision of the flashing devicein the electrical circuit.

The circuit may be traced as follows: one terminal of battery 46, lead 54, hinge bracket 58, pivot plate 76, contact 70, lead 56, flashing device 42, lead 50, lamp bulb 52, and back to the other terminal of the battery through the lead 48.

Means is provided in the device for receiving a letter A that is to be mailed, as distinguished from the letter L delivered by the mailman. For this purpose there is provided an upwardly arched yoke 92, secured fixedly at the lower ends of its legs to the opposite side flanges 34 of the base plate.

A leaf spring 94 is secured at one end to one of the legs of the yoke, and is curved outwardly at its upper, free end to facilitate insertion of a letter A between the leaf spring and said adjacent leg. The leaf spring is adapted to cooperate with the leg in providing a holder for the letter A, said letter being a letter to be mailed as distinguished from a letter L delivered by the mailman.

On the front edge portion of the yoke there is provided a rolled bead 96, extending parallel to the leaf spring, and this has the desirable effect of biasing the letter A outwardly away from the adjacent side wall 20 of the mail box, so that the mailman will be enabled to grasp the letter A with minimum amount of difficulty.

An important characteristic of the invention resides in its adaptability for incorporation in mail boxes already in use. One need only insert the device in the mail box, and mount the signal lamp housing upon the top wall of the mail box. The device is then ready for use.

Another important characteristic of the invention resides in the fact that the plate 76 is so formed that any material placed in the mail box will naturally gravitate to a position in which it will swing the plate to a contact-closing posit-ion. There is no necessity of the mailman making a special effort to deposit the delivered mail on a particular area of the mail box bottom wall, as will be readily apparent.

Further, the plate 76 can be adjusted to the exact extent necessary to properly balance the same upon its pivot, so that it will swing to a contact-closing position whenever a predetermined weight is imposed thereupon, even a relatively light letter such as has been shown at L.

It is believed apparent that the invention is not necessarily confined to the specific use or uses thereof described above, since it may be utilized for any purpose to which it may be suited. Nor is the invention to be necessarily limited to the specific construction illustrated and described, since such construction is only intended to be illustrative of the principles, it being considered that the invention comprehends any minor change in construction that may be permitted within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A mail box signal comprising: a base plate insert able in a mail box and including an upstanding back wall; a mail support plate pivoted on the base plate and arranged to normally remain in ,one position and to swing to a second position under the weight of an article of mail placed thereon; and signal means actuated exteriorly of the mail box responsive to swinging of the mail sup port plate to the second position thereof, including an electrical signalling device mountable exteriorly of the mail box, a source of electricity mounted on said back wall, said source being connected at one side thereof with one sideof the signal device, a contact on the base plate having an electrical connection to the other side of the signal device andengageable by the mail support plate in the second position of the mail support plate, said mail support plate being of electrically conductive material, and a lead providing an electricalconnection between the mail support plate and the other side of the source of electricity. e

2. A mail box signal comprising a large base plate having a flat, horizontal, rectangular form so as to be proportioned to overlie substantially the entire area of the bottom of a rural mail box, said base plate having an underside substantially free of depending projections so as to be fiat upon the bottom of the mail box at a small distance from said bottom to thereby reduce the mailreceiving capacity of the mail box toan inconsequential degree, the base plate including an upstanding back wall arranged to extend in closely spaced parallel relation to the back wall of the mail box; a large, flat mail support plate of a shape and area closely approximating that of the base plate, said mail support plate being pivoted on the base plate for swinging movement about a horizontal axis extending transversely of the plates near the back wall, between and in closely spaced relation to the planes of the plates; an upstanding bracket on the mail support plate close to said axis, said bracket extending transversely of the mail support plate to define an abutment engaging mail'deposited on the mail support plate to confine the mail substantially entirely to the area of the mail support plate located forwardly of the pivot axis; a weight slidably supported on the mail support plate and connected to the bracket in back of the same for slidable adjustment toward and away from the bracket; and electrical signalling means actuated exteriorly of the mail box including a source of electricity mounted on said back wall, an electrical signal device adapted for mounting exteriorly of the mail box and electrically connected at one side with one side of said source, a contact on the base plate electrically connected with the other side of said device and disposed for engagement by the front portion of the mail support plate on pivoting of the mail support plate in one direction under the load imposed thereon by mail 6 deposited in the box, said mail support plate being of electrically conductive material, and an electrical connection between the mail support plate and the other side of said source.

References Cited in the file of this -atent UNITED STATES PATENTS 969,038 Carmony Aug. 30, 1910 10 1,019,554 Taylor Mar. 5, 1912 1,061,785 Shinn May 13, 1913 1,419,179 Tebbetts June 13. 1922

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US969038 *Jun 3, 1910Aug 30, 1910 Mail-box.
US1019554 *Jul 6, 1910Mar 5, 1912Frank W TaylorMail-box.
US1061785 *May 29, 1912May 13, 1913 Coin and mail holding device for mail-boxes.
US1419179 *Jan 18, 1921Jun 13, 1922Tebbetts Harry OMail and coin holding device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4651135 *Mar 1, 1984Mar 17, 1987Duhaime Paul TMail detector
US4999612 *Jun 21, 1990Mar 12, 1991Cherveny Albert GGravity fed remote mail delivery indicator
US5377906 *Oct 29, 1993Jan 3, 1995Mason; RandallDevice for detecting and signalling the presence of objects in a closed container and a mailbox containing the same
US5950919 *Dec 11, 1997Sep 14, 1999Adams; MelvinRemote mail delivery indicator system
US6119622 *Mar 14, 1995Sep 19, 2000Banerjea; Robin R.Indicator for delivery item collection receptacle
US20020103868 *Jan 29, 2001Aug 1, 2002Khan Salman K.Computer system and method for remotely checking mail receptacle content
US20030105729 *Nov 30, 2001Jun 5, 2003Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.Method and system for remotely accessing mailbox to verify contents using tagged mails
U.S. Classification340/569, 200/61.63, 200/85.00R
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/1212
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2E