US 2856123 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 14, 1958 w. J. MARY MAILBOX SIGNAL Filed May 16, 1957 William J. Mar
Q BY United tes Patent MAILBOX SIGNAL William J. Mary, Milton, Del. Application May 16, 1957, Serial No. 659,580
1 Claim. (Cl. 232-35) This invention relates to a signal for mailboxes of the type usually found along rural delivery routes.
An object of the present invention is to provide novel automatic means for visually signalling to indicate the presence of mail within a mailbox of the rural delivery type.
Another object is to provide automatic signalling means which will be operative when the door of the mailbox is open and remain in that indicating position until manually reset.
A further object is to provide simple and inexpensive means for automatically visually signalling the presence of mail within a mailbox.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawing forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of the signal shown affixed to a mailbox of a conventional type;
Figure 2 is a sectional view of the mailbox signal taken substantially along the plane indicated by section line 22 of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a seconal view taken substantially along the plane indicated by section line 33 of Figure 2;
Figure 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along the plane indicated by section line 44 of Figure 1; and
Figure 5 is a detailed perspective view of the signal plate of the present device.
Referring to the drawings by distinguishing reference numerals, it will be seen that designates generally a mailbox of the conventional type utilized along rural routes. The mailbox 10 is conventional in form and is provided with a door 12 pivotally attached to the box by means of hinge 14 along the bottom edge 16 thereof. The door 12 is retained in a closed position by means of resilient projection 18 which is riveted or otherwise secured to the box 10 and is adapted to engage the upper edge 20 of the door 12 as shown in Figure 1. A fiat container 22 is secured to the door 12 of the mailbox 10 by U-shaped strap 24. The fiat container 22 is provided with side walls 26 and 28 and a top member 30. In the flat container 22 is a substantially Z-shaped signal retaining member 32 provided with an upper lip 34 projecting inwardly substantially perpendicular to the door 12, and a lower lip 36 projecting perpendicularly outward in relation to door 12. The Z-shaped signal retaining member 32 is provided with a centrally located opening and is retained in spaced relation to the door 12 by a spacer 38. The fiat container 22 is fixedly retained by strap 24 and by a bolt 40 which passes through the strap, flat container 22, through the opening in the Z- shaped signal retaining member 32, through the door 12 and is secured by nut 42. A plate 44 is fixedly disposed 2,856,123 Patented Oct. 14, 1958 Ice.
between the inner surface of the door 12 and the nut 42.. The Z-shaped signal retaining member 32 is vertically disposed adjacent to and parallel with the door 12. A signal or indicating plate 48 is hung on the Z-shaped signal retaining member 32 substantially as shown in Figure 3 of the drawing, and is provided with a vertically extending slot 50 extending from a central position upwardly to the top edge thereof. The signal plate 48 is further provided with inwardly turned projections 52 and 54 and outwardly extending projections 56 and 58. The inwardly turned projections 52 and 54 are positioned on the top edge of the signal plate at either extremity thereof and the outwardly extending projections 56 and 58 are positioned along the top edge of the signal plate immediately adjacent to the slot 50. The signal plate 48 is further provided with a centrally located and downwardly extending tab 60 which may be provided with a distinctive color or other suitable marking. The signal plate 48 is clearly illustrated in Figure 5 of the drawing. The signal plate 48 is retained in position on the Z-shaped signal retaining member 32 with the inwardly turned projections 52 and 5'4 resting against the upper surface 62 of the upper lip 34 thereof with the lower inner surface of the plate 48 resting against the front edge 64 of the lower lip 36 of the signal retaining member 32. When the signal plate 48 is in this position, only the lower edge 66 thereof together with the tab 60 project downwardly beyond the lower extremity of the fiat container 22.
In operation, when the door 12 is opened by pivoting the top edge 20 about the hinge 14, the signal plate 48 is rotated about the axis formed by the hinge and the inwardly turned projections 52 and 54 slide off the upper lip 34 and with the plate move downwardly by gravity until the inwardly turned projections 52 and 54 rest against the upper surface 68 of the lower lip 36 and the outwardly turned projections 56 and 58 are wedged against the inner surface of the flat container 22, thereby causing the signal plate 48 to hang in depending position as illustrated by dotted lines in Figure 1. It is apparent that the signal plate 48 is lowered by gravity and manually reset after it has served its purpose by signalling the presence of mail within the box It) in preparation for the next delivery. Accordingly, there has been provided a signalling means, automatically operated by gravity, and effected merely by opening and rotating the door 12 about the hinge 14 which is necessary for the insertion of mail within the box 10.
The entire device except for the fastening bolt may beconstructed of plastic of any suitable color which will be substantially impervious to weather conditions of all. types. The metal plate 44 will reinforce the closure door 12 and the entire device may be assembled onto the mail box, with very little expenditure of time. The indicating plate may be distinguishably colored so that a person may observe it the door has been opened from a position remote from the mailbox. The container or housing 22 is mounted remote from the conventional handle provided on the door whereby the normal opening and closing of the door by the postman will not be hampered in any way whatsoever with the automatic operation of the device eliminating any action on-the part of the postman for rendering the signal flag effective.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.
What is claimed as new is as follows:
A rural mailbox comprising a housing having an access opening provided with a pivotally mounted closure door swingable from a generally vertical closed position to a generally horizontal open position, a container fixedly mounted exteriorly on said door, said container having an open bottom, an indicator-plate slidably disposed within said container for movement from an elevated concealed position to a lowered revealed position, a retaining plate disposed within said container and having a free upper edge, said'indicator plate including a laterally offset portion on the upper edge for engaging the free upper edge of 'the'retaining platefor retaining the indicatorplate in elevated position, said'retaining plate including means adjacent the lower edge thereof projecting into the path of movement ofthe offset portionof the indicator plate thereby limiting thedownward movementof the indicator plate and supporting the indicator plate in lowered position, said ofiset portion of the indicator plate freely resting 'onthe upper edge of theretainingplate with the force of gravity causing the offset portion of the indicator plate to slide off the upper edge of the retaining plate and move downwardly to a lowered revealed position when the door is swung downwardly from a closed to an open position, said indicator plate including a slot extending downwardly from the upper edge, a fastener bolt securing the container to the door and extending through the slot for guiding the movement of the indicator plate, and means on the lower end of the indicator plate forming handle means for manually raising the indicator plate from a lowered position to an elevated position.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 675,753 Myer June 4, 1901 2,609,787 Lawson Sept. 9, 1952 2,807,410 Ward Sept. 24, 1957 2,808,982 Armstrong N Oct. 8, 195