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Publication numberUS3143286 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 4, 1964
Filing dateApr 10, 1962
Priority dateApr 10, 1962
Publication numberUS 3143286 A, US 3143286A, US-A-3143286, US3143286 A, US3143286A
InventorsEdge Sr Dewey S
Original AssigneeEmory Byrd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic mailbox door actuating means and signal
US 3143286 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

g 4, 1954 D. 5. EDGE, SR 3,143,286

AUTOMATIC MAILBOX DOOR ACTUATING MEANS AND SIGNAL Filed April 10, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet l Dewey 5. Edge, .Sz INVENTOR.

4 l 82 80 8 78 BY 94 I 88 Mflja Aug. 4, 1964 5, EDGE, 5R 3,143,286

AUTOMATIC MAILBOX DOOR ACTUATING MEANS AND SIGNAL Filed April 10, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 92 T I 88 Dewey S Edge, SI: INVENTOR.

United States Patent Fla.

Filed Apr. 143, 1962, Ser. No. 186,480 11 claims. or. zen-35 This invention relates, broadly construed, to an improved rural mailbox signal which lends itself to practical and acceptable use on a vertical side wall of a conventional type mailbox and pertains, more particularly, to an adaptation wherein a rigid vertically slidable flag-equipped staff is raised by hand to assume a flag-up position and, when tripped, drops by gravity to assume a flag-down position.

More particularly, a rod carrying a friction sleeve projects through a slot in the aforementioned side wall and has friction-retained contact with the staff and is normally spring-biased to assume and maintain the up position of the signal flag. Novel door-actuated means confined in the interior of the mailbox, comprising part of the invention, serves to push the door open, return the door to its normal closed position and operate the rod and friction sleeve in unison with the door.

Briefly summarized, the above-named door-actuated means, construed from a different angle of interpretation is such that it functions to thrust the door from a closed to an open position and alternatively functions to spring the door to resume its closed position. To the ends desired the means in question is charactermed by an interior lever which is bracketed and thus pivotally mounted intermediate its ends within the confines of the mailbox. A push-pull link affords an operating connection between a lower part of the lever and the lower hinged part of the door. In turn, the extreme lower part of the lever is moved by a simple accessible rod which constitutes handle means.

Further novelty is predicated on the handle-equipped lever having return springs which function to maintain the lever in its normal position. Pivoted latch means, which is manually releasable, functions to retain the handle means in position during the time that the door is open.

Further, and as will be hereinafter more specifically covered, a simple and elficient mechanically movable rod carrying a friction sleeve is pivotally mounted and projects through a slot in the box wall and has friction contact with a median portion of the fiagstaff, said rod and sleeve being spring-returned and having spring operating connection with the aforementioned lever.

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 drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIGURE 1 is a View in side elevation showing a rural mailbox constructed in accordance with the invention and embodying the improved flag-equipped signal, the flag being in an up position;

FIGURE 2 is also a side view with portions broken away and shown in section with parts appearing in phantom lines and illustrating the mechanism or means which is located, primarily considered, on the interior of the box with the door closed;

FIGURE 3 is a view in end elevation observing the lefthand or front end of the mailbox;

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary view in perspective wherein all of the essential or component parts are shown in cooperating relationship;

FIGURE 5 is a view based on FIG. 2 and with parts in section and elevation which shows the door swung down to an open position and also shows the component parts of the means or mechanism in operating relationship; and

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view in section and elevation taken approximately on the plane of the ir regular section line 6-6 of FIGURE 5 looking in the direction of the arrows.

With reference first to FIGURES 1 and 3 the rural mailbox as a structural entity is denoted by the numeral 8 and is substantially conventional in type and is supported on an appropriate upright or support 10. The rear stationary end wall is denoted at 12, the vertical side walls at 14, the top wall at 16 and bottom wall at 18. The lefthand or front end of the box is openable and closable by way of an outwardly and downwardly swingable door 20 hingedly mounted in a suitable manner as at 22.

The signal generally speaking is denoted by the numeral 24 and comprises a rigid vertical liftable and lowerable staff 26 of suitable construction provided at the upper end with an appropriate signalling flag 28. The staff is slidable in vertically spaced aligned guide brackets 30, there being a head 32 on the lower end of the staff to limit the upward sliding movement. This signalling flag is set, that is, lifted to an elevated or up position by hand. When it is or has been released it drops down or assumes a down position under the forces of gravity. Thus it is the purpose of the means or mechanism on the interior of the box to normally hold the flag up, that is when it is so desired by the resident, and to allow the flag to drop down when the box has been served by the carrier and the door of the box has been swung to the open position shown in FIG. 5.

Novel retaining means is provided and serves to effectively and reliably maintain the signal means 24 in the elevated position illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. The means comprises a simple and practical spring-returned and spring-released rod carrying a friction sleeve. Specifically a rod member 34 (FIG. 6) has a median portion operating through a slot 36 in the side wall 14, an inner end of this rod or arm is provided with an attaching and pivoting eye 38 which is pivotally anchored on a pin 40 carried by a bracket 42 fastened to the interior of the wall 14. The outer end portion of this arm projects through and beyond the slot 36 and is at right angles to the cooperating surface of the staff 26, the same provided with a rubber or an equivalent friction sleeve 44 which is normally pressed against the staff by way of a return and retaining coil spring 46, said spring attached at one end to the arm and being suitably anchored at 48 at its opposite end. The tension of the spring 46 normally maintains the sleeve 44 against the staff 26 and supports staff in an evident manner. When the sleeve 44 is released by means to be described, the staff slides down through the guide brackets by gravity and lowers the flag 28.

The means for releasing the spring-loaded rod 34 and sleeve 44 is housed primarily within the confines of the receptacle portion of the mailbox 8. This means is characterized chiefly by a simple linearly straight lever pivotally mounted at 52 on a bracket 54 fixed in the box. The upper end portion 56 is connected to the rod by way of a coil spring 58, said spring connected at 60 to said lever and at its opposite end to the rod as shown at 62 (FIG. 6). Also this upper end portion 56 is provided with a coil spring 64 which is attached at one end thereto and has its other end anchored on a bracket 66. This expedient is a return spring as is evident, and its purpose is to maintain the lever 50 in the perpendicular or vertical position shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6. A companion or complemental coil spring 68 is provided and is attached at one end to the lever and anchored at its opposite end on a bracket 7 0 fixed to the wall of the box. The

amazes lower end portion 72 extends through a slot 74 provided therefor in the bottom wall 18. The trip handle means comprises a rod 76 which has one end 78 pivotally connected to the lower end 72 of the lever; The median portion is operable through a fixed guide 80. The outer or forward end portion of this rod 75 is bent laterally to provide a handgrip 82. It will be noted that the intermediate portion of the trip rod or handle is provided with a keeper notch or seat 84. This seat serves to accommodate a flattened detent 86 which is releasably seated in the keeper seat. This detent is a part of a latch finger 88 which is pivoted at 96 on a hanger bracket 92 on the underneath side of the bottom 18. The numeral 94 designates a stirrup-like J-shaped strap which is fixed on the bottom of the box and which serves to accommodate the end portion of the latch finger and in fact serves as a stop and seat therefor. An appropriately arranged coil spring 96 is provided and is attached to the latch finger at its lower end and is bracketed in place on the box wall as at 98. This latch means does not come into play until the door 20 is swung downwardly to the open position illustrated in FIG. 5. When the door is opened the spring-biased latch snaps the detent portion 86 into the keeper seat 84, and thus retains the cooperating parts of the mechanism in the manner illustrated in FIG; 5. It is reiterated that the component parts of the interior mechanism are shown in their normal relationship in FIG. 2 which is the relationship assumed when the door 20 is closed. When the door is open the parts change the relationship and assume the relative positions illustrated in FIG. 5.

Assuming that the resident has placed mail in the box 8 which is to be picked up by the mail carrier the signal flag will, of course, be placed in the raised mail pickup position shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. To accomplish this that brake action of sleeve 44 against the surface of 26 is relieved slightly by either opening the box or by finger pressure or the like and thestaif is elevated. When in this elevated position the sleeve 44 will hold the flag up when the box is closed. When the mail carrier arrives and desires to deposit mail in the box he will catch hold of the handgrip or fingerpiece 82 and pull it toward him. In so doing he will bring the interior mechanism into play. This is to say the rod 76 acts as a pull link and overcomes the tension of the retaining springs 64 and 68. Also, the spring 58 is actuated to move the rod 34 so that the flag drops. At the same time a thrust is applied to the push pull link 100 which is pivoted at 102 on the lever 50 and bracketed at 104 and hingedly joined to the door. Consequently the door is pushed down and assumes the open position shown. When the handle rod 76 is pulled out sufficiently the latch means 86 snaps into the keeper seat 84 and consequently the parts are held in the open door position shown in FIG. 5. These same parts 50, 190 and springs 64 and 68 function to return or close the door. This is accomplished by exerting finger pressure on the free outer end portion of the latch finger 88 to release the latch means. Having released the latch means the springs 64 and 66 come into play and return the parts to the normal relationship depicted in FIG. 2. The fact that the flag is now down will notify the resident that the mail carrier has picked up the outgoing mail and deposited, if any, the incoming mail.

It is believed that a careful consideration of the description in conjunction with the views of the drawings will enable the reader to obtain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the construction, the features and advantages and operation of the invention. Therefore, a more extended description is regarded as unnecessary.

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:

1. In combination, a conventional-type rural mailbox open at its front end and provided at said front end with a hingedly mounted closing door, an exterior signalling flag having a vertically disposed staff manually liftable to a flag elevating position and gravity lowerable to a lowered flag position, guide means for said staff fixed on an exterior of one vertical side wall of said mailbox, friction holding means operatively mounted on said side wall and projecting outwardly therefrom and normally in friction-retaining but trippable engagement with said staff and releasable when said door is opened, and manually actuated door opening, closing and friction releasing means comprising a spring-loaded trip lever pivotally mounted in said mailbox and operatively connected to said friction holding means, an operating linking connection between said lever and door including a door-operating push-pull link connected at one end to said door and at the other end to said lever, and accessibly mounted handle means slidingly mounted and operatively connected to said lever.

2. The structure according to claim 1, and wherein said friction holding means comprises a rod member horizon'tally positioned at right angles to said staff and operable through a slot provided therefor in said side wall.

3. The structure according to claim 1, and wherein said friction holding means comprises a rod member horizontally positioned at right angles to said staff and operable through a slot provided therefor in said side wall, the outer end of said rod having a friction sleeve thereon for frictionally-retaining said staff in elevated position.

4. The structure according to claim 1, and wherein the operating connection between said trip lever and friction holding means comprises a coil spring connected at on end to the lever and at its other end to said friction holding means.

5. In combination, a conventional-type rural mailbox open at its front end and provided at said front end with a hingedly mounted closing door, an exterior signalling fiat having a vertically disposed staff manually liftable to a flag elevating position and gravity lowerable to a lowered fiag position, guide means for said staff fixed on an exterior of one Vertical side wall of said mailbox, friction holding means operatively mounted on said side wall and projecting outwardly therefrom and normally in friction-retaining but trippable engagement with said staff and releasable When said door is opened, and manually actuated door opening, closing and friction releasing means comprising a spring-loaded trip lever pivotally mounted in said mailbox and operatively connected to said friction holding means, an operating linking connection between said lever and door, and accessibly mounted handle means slidingly mounted and operatively connected to said lever, said handle means comprising a rod having a rearward end pivotally joined to a lower end of said lever, said rod having a fingergrip at its forward end, and in combination, a spring-biased detent mounted on the bottom of said mailbox, lsaid rod having a keeper notch releasably engageable with said detent.

6. In combination, a conventional-type rural mailbox open at its front end and provided at said front end with a hingedly mounted closing door, an exterior signalling flag having a vertically disposed staff manually liftable to a flag-elevating position and gravity lowerable to a lowered flag position, guide means for said stalf fixed on an exterior of one vertical side wall'of said mailbox, friction holding means operatively mounted on said side wall and projecting outwardly therefrom and normally in friction-retaining but trippable engagement with said staif and automatically releasable when said door is opened, a trip lever pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on an interior surface of said side wall, a rod slidingly mounted on a bottom Wall of said mailbox, said rod having a handgrip at an accessible forward end and having a rearward end pivotally connected to a forwardly and rearwardly movable lower end of said lever, return springs connected to upper and lower ends of said lever and anchored on said side wall, a door-operating push-pull link connected at one end to said door and at the other end to said lever, an operating connection between the lever and friction holding means, and latch means on said mailbox and releasably cooperable with said rod for holding the door open until the latch means is intentionally released.

7. The structure according to claim 6, and wherein said operating connection comprises a coil spring connected at one end to the friction holding means and at its other end to said lever.

8. The structure according to claim 6, and wherein said latch means comprises a rigid finger having one end pivoted on the bottom wall of said mailbox, disposed at right angles to and releasably seatable in a keeper seat provided therefor on said rod, the other end of said finger being free and accessible for manual operation, and a coil spring connected to said box at one end and to said finger at its other end.

9. In a structure of the class described, in combination, a conventional-type rural mailbox open at its front end and provided at said front end with a hingedly mounted closing door, a trip lever pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on an interior surface of said side wall, a rod slidingly mounted on a bottom wall of said mailbox, said rod having a handgrip at an accessible forward end and having a rearward end pivotally connected to a forwardly and rearwardly movable lower end of said lever, return springs connected to upper and lower ends of said lever and anchored on said side wall, a door-operating push-pull link connected at one end to said door and at the other end to said lever, and latch means on said mailbox and releasably cooperable with said rod for holding the door open until the latch means is intentionally released.

10. The structure according to claim 9, and wherein said latch means comprises a rigid finger having one end pivoted on the bottom wall of said mailbox, disposed at right angles to and releasably seatable in a keeper seat provided therefor on said rod, the other end of said finger being free and accessible for manual operation, and a coil spring connected to said box at one end to said finger at its other end.

11. In combination, a conventional-type rural mailbox open at its front end and provided at said front end with a hingedly mounted closing door, an exterior signal flag having a vertically disposed staff manually liftable to a flatg-elevating position and gravity lowerable to a lowered flag position, guide means for said staff fixed on an exterior of one vertical side wall of said mailbox, said vertical side having a slot therein, a bracket mounted on the interior of said vertical side in line with said slot, an arm having an inner end pivotally mounted on said bracket and having a median portion projecting through and outwardly beyond said slot, the projecting outer end portion of said arm being provided with a friction sleeve and said sleeve being in releasable engagement with a cooperating portion of said flagstaif, a coil spring anchored in said box and attached at one end to said arm, a lever pivoted in said box, a spring connection between said lever and said arm, return spring means for said lever, and a manually operatable handle connected to said lever and accessible for operation at the door end of said mailbox.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,346,789 Runkle July 13, 1920 1,895,912 Bowers Jan. 31, 1933 2,464,670 Carlson Mar. 15, 1949 2,468,257 Fagner Apr. 26, 1949 2,567,684 Tuchey Sept. 11, 1951 2,834,540 Hudgins May 13, 1958

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1346789 *Feb 10, 1920Jul 13, 1920Runkle Jr John HMail-box signal device
US1895912 *May 8, 1931Jan 31, 1933Bowers Edward WMail box
US2464670 *Sep 1, 1944Mar 15, 1949Hilbert Carlson CarlReceptacle cover operator and lock
US2468257 *May 8, 1948Apr 26, 1949Fagner Raymond LDoor actuated reciprocating signal for mailboxes
US2567684 *May 9, 1949Sep 11, 1951Tuckey Charles LDoor opener
US2834540 *Aug 27, 1957May 13, 1958Hudgins Peter DDoor-opening attachment for ruraltype mailboxes
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3827626 *Aug 14, 1972Aug 6, 1974Daigle HRural mailbox
US4202486 *Mar 14, 1979May 13, 1980Tipsword Wilbur MAutomatically signaling mailbox
US7885821Apr 3, 2006Feb 8, 2011Michael TaitPackage pickup indicator system
US8234996 *Dec 19, 2008Aug 7, 2012United Parcel Service Of America, Inc.Apparatus and method for a sort station communication system
US20100155311 *Dec 19, 2008Jun 24, 2010United Parcel Service Of America, Inc.Apparatus and method for a sort station communication system
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/35, 116/306, 49/344, 49/379
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/121
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2