US 3208668 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 28, 1965 wl R. DlcKlNs, sR
CLOSURE MEANS FOR RURAL MAILBOXES Filed Dec. 20, 1965 INVENTOR.
MyW/ey M@ United lStates Patent O 3,208,668 `CLOSURE MEANS FR RURAL MAILBXES William R. Dickins, Sr., Rte. 1, BOX 61, Sparks, Ga. Filed Dec. 20, 1963, Ser. No. 332,195 2 Claims. (Cl. 232-33) The instant invention is generally concerned with rural route mailboxes, and is more particularly directed toward the provision of a novel closure means for such mailboxes.
As will be appreciated by those familiar with conventional rural mailboxes, many inconveniences are associated therewith. For example, the conventionally provided latch mechanisms frequently become jammed in a manner so as to require a great deal of effort to both open and close the door of the mailbox body. In addition, the latches will frequently become so loose as to be incapable of retaining the door in its closed position.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the instant invention to provide a closure means for a mailbox body wherein no latch mechanism whatsoever is required, the door being held in its closed position solely by the force of gravity due to its inclined or offset orientation in the closed position.
Another problem in conventional mailboxes is the necessity of providing a relatively tight t between the door and the body of the mailbox so as to form a generally weathertight seal, this tight t also quite frequently causing an annoying jamming of the door. It is a significant object of the instant invention to also avoid this problem by providing that the door freely engage flat against the open end of the body with an enlarged forwardly projecting shield surrounding the door in its closed position so as to provide a highly effective weather seal.
Furthermore, inasmuch as an occasion frequently arises wherein it becomes necessary to leave money, stamps, etc. in a mailbox, difficulties arise in conventional mailboxes as to where to place this so as to be easily seen and recovered. To provide specifically for this situation, the instant invention contemplates the incorporation of a pocket structure within the door itself, this door structure being such so as to position these articles, while safely retaining Various articles, when the door is open, for easy access thereto. Along these same lines, the structure of the instant invention also incorporates means for retaining the door in a horizontal position when opened so as to provide a fiat platform which can be utilized as a support during, for example, counting the money or stamps removed from the pocket, or as a temporary support in loading or unloading the mailbox body.
Likewise, it is an object of the instant invention to provide a mailbox wherein the interior of the body thereof is completely smooth and uninterrupted for the full length thereof so as to avoid any obstruction to the introduction or removal of matter from the body.
Also, it is an object of the instant invention to provide a mailbox which, while highly novel, is of extremely simple construction capable of economical manufacture and maintenance-free use for an almost unlimited time.
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 perspective view of the mailbox cornprising the instant invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view taken substantially ou a plane passing along line 2 2 in FIGURE l; and
FIGURE 3 is a partail cross-sectional View taken sub- 3,208,668 Patented Sept. 28, 1965 lCe l stantially on a plane passing along line 33 in FIG- URE 2.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings, reference numeral 10 is used to generally designate the mailbox comprising the instant invention, this mailbox consisting basically of a hollow elongated body 12 and a planar door 14.
The body 12 is formed generally in the manner of a conventional mailbox body in that it includes a flat bottom 16, integral sides 18 and top 20, a closed rear end and an open forward end. The body 12 dilfers from a conventional mailbox body by providing that the open forward end thereof be inclined rearwardly, as will be best appreciated from FIGURE 2, from the lower edge thereof, this lower edge of the open forward end being defined by the forward edge 20 of the flat bottom 16. In addition, rather than the sides 18 and top 20 terminating in inwardly bent edges, the sides 18 and top 20, in the body 12 of the instant invention, terminate in a continuous generally laterally outwardly directed flange 22, the exact angle of this flange 22 corresponding to the angle of inclination of the open forward end of the body 12.
A hood or shield 24 secured to, or possibly integral with, the outer edge of the flange 22 projects forwardly of the open end of the body 12 a distance sufficient so as to project beyond the door 14, in its closed position, and the various elements are secured thereto which shall be described presently. This shield 24, as will be appreciated from the drawings, terminates in a single vertical plane so as to present a neat flat appearance while providing the greatest degree of protection at the upper or most vulnerable part of the door 14. Incidentally, it will be noted that the sides 18 extend below the dat bottom 16 so as to form a recess for the mounting board 26 to which the sides are secured by suitable driven fasteners 27, the sides of the shield 24 also depending in a manner so as -to position their lower edges coextensive with the lower edges of the sides 18.
The door 14 has the lower edge thereof fixed to a rod 28 which in turn has its opposite ends rotatably mounted through suitable apertures in the shield sides, this rod 28 extending parallel to and forward of the forward edge 20 of the flat bottom 16 a distance suicient only to enable the rotation thereof. The door 14 itself is to be of a size so as to project, in its closed position, both beyond the sides and the top of the open end of the body 12 in a manner so as to rest upon the outwardly directed flange 22. of the shield 24 so as to avoid any contact whatsoever therewith during both the opening and closing of the door 14. In this manner, free movement of the door without any danger of jamming is ensured. Incidentally, while the lower edge of the door 14 has been described as being fixed to the rod 28 which in turn is rotatably mounted, if so desired, the rod 28 may be fixed and the lower edge of the door 14 rotatably mounted thereon, in which case, suitable spacers would be provided about each end of the rod 28 between the door and the shield 24 so as to maintain the central orientation of the door 14 for proper sealing engagement against the inclined open end of the body 12.
With specific reference to FIG. 2, it is contemplated that the inclination of the open end of the body 12 be such so as to ensure that the force of gravity acting upon the off-center located door resting thereagainst be sufficient so as to retain the door in this closed position without the necessity of requiring any latch means whatsoever. The particular angle of the inclination can, of course, vary. In addition, it will be appreciated that the shield 24 precludes any possibility of the various weather ele- However, the door 14 is to stop substantially short.
ments, such as for example wind or rain, causing an accidental opening of the door 14, while at the same time greatly increasing the weathertightness of the seal produced by the door 14 lying against the inclined open end of the body 12and the flange 22 associated therewith.
The opening and closing of the door 14 is effected through an elongated handle rigid with and projecting forwardly from the outer surface of the door 14 adjacent the upper edge thereof, this handle 30 terminating, at its free end, in a reversely bent hook portion for facilitating the grasping thereof.
As noted in the objects supra, the instant invention also contemplates the provision of a pocket 32 within the door 14. This pocket 32 gradually deepens from the upper end thereof and is formed by a front wall 34 secured, or integral, at its upper edge to the upper edge of a centrally located door opening or aperture 36. The wall 34, from the upper edge thereof, curves gradually, when the door 14 is in its closed position, downwardly and outwardly to approximately the plane of the lower edge of the opening 36, at which time the forward wall 34 curves inwardly with its lower edge contacting and being rigidly afxed to the outer surface of the door 14 below the lower edge of the opening 36, thereby forming in effect a forwardly bulged container. Conforming sides 38 are of course provided in conjunction with the forward wall 34 so as to finish off, the pocket 32. Inasmuch as there is a possibility of rain collecting in the pocket 32 when for example the door 14 is opened while it is raining, two sets of drain holes 40 are provided, one at the extreme bottom of the pocket 32, and the other set at the maximum forward portion of the pocket 32, this arrangement positioning one set of drain holes 40 at the low point of the pocket when in either its open or closed position.
The open position of the door 14, illustrated in phantom line in FIG. 2, is tothe horizontal, or at least substantially horizontal, this being ensured by the provision of a stop rod 42 xed to the opposite sides of the shield 24 and located slightly forward of and slightly below the pivot rod 28, this rod 42, of course, extending parallel to the pivot rod 28. In this manner, as the door 14 is moved from its closed position to its open position, the rod 42 will be engaged and prevent further movement of the door 14 beyond the illustrated horizontal position. In this horizontal open position, it will be appreciated that the articles received in the pocket 32 will automatically move out of the extreme bottom of the pocket 32 to an intermediate point where access thereto can be obtained with no difficulty. Further, it is contemplated that the inner surface of the door 14 be flat so as to provide a convenient surface upon which the pocket articles can be counted, etc. In this regard, it will be appreciated that one need merely reach into the pocket 32 with his lingers and forwardly draw the articles therein along the front wall 34 and onto the fiat, horizontally located, inner surface of the door 14, and, if so desired, completely off the forward edge of the door 14 into the other hand, or a suitable receptacle, thereby eliminating the necessity of picking up each individual coin such as might be dif-licult when, for example, wearing gloves.
From the above description, it should be recognized that a mailbox has been defined which incorporates several patentably significant features which produce a highly superior device incorporating many desirable advantageous features heretofore not available.
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. A mailbox comprising an elongated hollow body having an open forward end .and a closed rear end, said open end being inclined rearwardly from the bottom thereof, a generally planar door for said hollow body, means pivotally mounting said door at the lower edge thereof juxtaposed the bottom of said open end for movement between a first position covering the open end and a second position extending substantially longitudinally forward from said body, said door, through the inclination of the open end, being positioned beyond the vertical and thus maintained in closed position by gravity, a shield secured to and spaced laterally outward from the body in spaced relation beyond the periphery of the door, said shield projecting forwardly from the body beyond the means pivotally mounting the lower edge of the door so as to enclose said door in its first psition, and a pocket projecting centrally from the forward face of said door, said pocket having an aperture therethrough communieating with the pocket, said pocket including a rigid front wall secured .at its upper edge to the upper edge of the door aperture, said wall gradually diverging outwardly and downwardly relative to the forward face of the door and terminating in a rearwardly directed lower portion having the edge thereof secured to the door below the lower edge of the aperture.
2. A mailbox comprising an elongated hollow body having sides, a top and a flat bottom presenting smooth uninterrupted surfaces throughout the length of the hollow body, said sides, top and bottom defining an open forward end, said forward end being inclined rearwardly from the fiat bottom, a door, means pivotally mounting the lower edge of the door forward of the fiat bottom, said door being of a size so as to project laterally beyond the sides and top of the body so as to close said open end, said door, through the inclination of the open end, being positioned beyond the vertical and thus maintained in closed position by gravity, a flange fixed to the forward edges of the sides and top and projecting generally laterally therefrom outward beyond the door edges and the body, a shield fixed to the outer edge of the flange and projecting forwardly therefrom laterally outward of the body and door edges so as to enclose the door, the forward edge of the shield being in a single vertical plane forward of the forward edge of the flat bottom, a stop member secured to the shield forward of the open forward end and projecting laterally across the open end in generally the plane of the flat bottom so as to limit the outward pivoting of the door, and a gradually deepening pocket projecting forward from the door, said door having an aperture therethrough communicating with the pocket, said pocket including a rigid front wall secured at its upper edge to the upper edge of the door aperture, said wall gradually diverging outwardly and downwardly relative to the forward face of the door and terminating in a rearwardly directed lower portion having the edge thereof secured to the door below the lower edge of the aperture.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,209,550 12/ 16 Buckwalter 232-17 1,640,153 8/ 27 Kolstad 232-45 2,578,486 12/51 Pedersen 232-35 2,834,540 5/58 Hudgins 232-35 FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner,