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Publication numberUS3212701 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 19, 1965
Filing dateJul 22, 1964
Priority dateJul 22, 1964
Publication numberUS 3212701 A, US 3212701A, US-A-3212701, US3212701 A, US3212701A
InventorsSmith Richard G
Original AssigneeSmith Richard G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mail box signal
US 3212701 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 19, 1965 R. G. SMITH MAIL BOX SIGNAL Filed July 22. 1964 Nl l l l l l I I I l lll- I N VENTOR.

RICHARD G. SMITH United States Patent O 3,212,701 MAIL BOX SIGNAL Richard G. Smith, 7131 NW. 7, Oklahoma City, Okla. Filed July 22, 1964, Ser. No. 384,412 Claims. (Cl. 232--35) The present invention relates to mail boxes -and more particularly to a signal attachment to be connected with a mail box door.

Mail boxes of the rural delivery type are usually positioned at the side of the road or street of the mail delivery route which is usually some distance from the dwelling of the owner of the mail box. To save useless trips to the mail box it is desirable for the mail box owner to know whether or not the mail carrier has deposited mail.

It is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide an attachment for the door of a mail box of the type having a lid movable downwardly and outwardly about a horizontal hinge v'ax-is so that opening and closing the mail box door will actuate the device.

Another important object -is to provide a mail box mail deposit signal which requires no action on the part of the mail carrier other than the opening and closing of the mail box door.

Another object is to provide a mail box signal which is gravity actuated and easily manually reset to a nonsignalling position.

A further object is to provide a mail delivery signal which is not alected by the weather and when moved to signalling posit-ion remains in such position until reset.

Yet another object is to provide a mail delivery signal which -is simple in construction and is easily installed by the home owner.

The present invention accomplishes these and other objects by connecting a box-like housing to the outer surface of `a mail box door. An indicator or signal plate is vertically positioned slidably within the housing and is releasably held therein by gravity actuated locking means.

Other objects will be apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying single sheet of drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a rural type mail box having the device installed thereon;

FIGURE 2 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken substanti-ally along the line 2-2 of FIG. l;

FIGURE 3 is a rearward sectional perspective view of the signalling device, per se;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIGURE 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating an alternate embodiment of the device; and,

FIGURE 6 is a View similar to FIG. 1 illustrating an alternate manner of mounting the device on a mail box door.

=Like characters of reference designate like parts in those figures of the drawings in which they occur.

lIn the drawings:

The reference numeral 10 indicates generally a mail box of the conventional type used along rural mail delivery routes. As is customary, the mail box 10 is mounted on a support, such as a post 11, and is provided with a door 12 hingedly connected, as at 14, along its bottom edge 16 so that the door swings outwardly and downwardly when opening the mail box. The door 12 is held in closed position by resilient members 18 secured to the mail box and door.

The numeral 20 indicates the device, as a whole, comprising a rectangular container or housing 21 having a front wall 22, side walls 24 and 26, la top 28 and a back wall 30 defining a generally open bottom end. The de- 3,212,701 Patented Oct. 19, 1965 ICC vice is secured to the forward surface of the mail box doo-r 12 by its rearward wall 30 in any conventional manner, such as by metal screws or bolts, neither of which are shown, extended through the door 12 and holes 32 in the back wall 30. A pair of panels or webs 34 are each connected at one end, respectively, to the inner surface of the side walls 24 and 26, intermediate their ends. The webs 34 extend downwardly and inwardly in converging relation terminating, at their lower ends, in parallel spaced-apart relation to form a horizontal slot 36. The webs 34 define the lower limit of the back wall 30 and extend from the back wall toward the front wall 22 terminating in spaced parallel relation with respect to the inner surface thereof to define a slot 38. Each of the webs 34 `at their forwardly dispo-sed edges, is turned downwardly, as at 40, in parallel spaced relation with respect to the inner surface of the front wall 22. A shoulder 42, formed on the depending edge portion 40 of the respective web extends forwardly, adjacent each side wall 24 and 26, and terminates in contacting relation against the inner depending end portion surface of the front wall 22.

A substantially rectangular indicator plate 44 is loosely positioned within the device 20` adjacent the front wall 22 between the shoulders 42. lLongitudinally the plate 44 is substantially equal with respect to the housing front wall 22. A pair of outstanding ears 46, integrally formed adjacent the upper edge of the plate 44, contact the shoulders 42 when the indicator plate is in lowered revealed position, as indicated by dotted lines. The plate 44 is preferably coated with bright colored or light reiiectin g paint.

A keel 48 is centrally connected vertically to the rearward surface of the plate 44 intermediate its ends. The lower end edge 50` of the keel is normal to the inner surface of the plate 44. A spherical lock member, such as a ball 52, is placed within the housing 21 and is supported by the upper surface of the webs 34 and in turn supports the plate 44 when in retracted or concealed position by contact of the keel end edge 50 with the upwardly disposed surface of t-he ball 52.

An alternate embodiment of the device 20A is illustrated in FIG. 5 which is substantially identical in con- -struction to the device 20 with the exception that the sides and top walls are substantially more narrow, as is indicated by the top wall 28A. In this alternate embodiment a lock member comprising a Idisk 54 cooperates with similarly narrow web members in supporting the alternate indicator plate 44A. The purpose of the narrow contigur-ation of the alternate container 21A is to maintain the disk 54 in vertical edgewise position within the container.

An alternate manner of mounting the device 20 on the mail box 10 is illustrated in FIG. 6 wherein a bracket 56, secured to the door 12 and extending laterally thereof, supports the device 20 so that the indicator plate 44 may be viewed from either end of the mail box when in lowered position, as shown by dotted lines.

Operation `In operation the device is installed on the mail box as disclosed hereinabove with the indicator plate 44 in elevated or concealed position, as shown by solid lines. As shown in t-he drawings the depending edge portions of the forward and side walls are turned arcuately outward to form drip rails. When the door is opened, the ball 52 or disk 54 is released from contact with the keel edge -50 and rolls toward the then downwardly disposed top portion of the container. When the door is closed, the indicator plate falls by gravity through the open portion of the container bottom wherein the keel 48 slides through the slot 36. The ball or disk is supported by one of the webs 34 and adjacent surface of the keel 48. The indicator plate 44 is then supported in full view of an observer by the ears 46 contacting the shoulders 42. After removing deposited mail from the box the indicator -plate 44 is reset manually by Simply lifting it in a sliding action upwardly into the container 21 wherein the ball S2 'or disk 54 rolls into a centralized position above the slot 36 -on the upper surfaces of the webs 34 so that when the operator releases the plate 44 the lower surface 50 of the keel again contacts the upper edge portion of the ball 52 or disk 54.

Obviously the invention is susceptible to some change or alteration without defeating its practicability, and I vtherefore do not wish to be confined to the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings and described herein, further than I am limited by the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A mail box, comprising: a housing having an opening for the removal and deposit of mail and provided with a hingedly mounted downwardly and outwardly swingable closing door providing access to the interior of said housing; a container iixedly secured exteriorly on said door, said container having an open bottom; a pair of webs secured to the inner surfaces of said container in downwardly converging relation and terminating at their depending ends in parallel spaced relation -to for-m a slot; a shoulder formed on each said web and projecting horizontally across a portion of the open bottom of said container; an indicator plate disposed within said container for movement from an elevated concealed position to a lowered revealed position; oppositely directed outstanding ears formed on said indicator plate and engageable with said shoulders; a keel connected to said indicator plate intermediate the ends of the latter, said keel being vertically slidable through said slot; and a keel lock member rfreely m-ovable within said container.

2. A mail box, comprising: a housing having an opening for the removal and deposit of mail and provided with a hingedly mounted downwardly and outwardly swingable closing door; a container xedly secured exteriorly on said door, said container having side, front, top and back walls and having an open bottom; a pair of webs secured to the inner surfaces of said side walls in downwardly converging relation and terminating at their depending ends Ain parallel spaced relation to form a slot;

a shoulder formed on each said web and projecting horizontally across a portion of the open bottom of said container; an indicator plate disposed within said container for movement from an elevated concealed position to a lowered revealed position; oppositely directed outstanding ears formed -on said indicator plate and engageable with said shoulders; a keel connected to said indicator plate intermediate the ends of the latter, said keel being vertically slidable through said slot; and a keel lock member freely movable within said container.

3. A mail box, comprising: a housing having an opening f-or the removal and deposit of mail and provided with a hingedly mounted downwardly and outwardly swingable cio-sing door; a container fixedly secured exteriorly on said door, said container having side, front, top and back walls and having an open bottom; a pair of webs secured to the inner surfaces of said walls in downwardly converging relation and terminating at their depending ends in parallel spaced relation to form a slot, said webs extending forwardly from said back wall and terminating in parallel spaced relation with respect to the inner surface of sai-d front wall; a shoulder formed on each said web and extending horizontally forward across the spacing betweenl the respective said web and the inner surface of said front wall; an indicator plate disposed within said container between said webs and said front wall and movable from an elevated concealed position t-o a lowered revealed position; oppositely directed outstanding ears formed on said indicator plate and engageable with said shoulders when said 4plate is in a lowered position; a vertically disposed keel connected with said indicator plate intermediate the-ends of the latter, said keel being vertically slidable through said slot; and a keel lock member freely movable within said container.

4. Structure as specified in claim 3 in which said keel lock member is spherical.

S. Structure as specified in claim 3 in which said lock member is disk shaped.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,807,410 A9/*57 Ward 232-35 2,856,123 lO/SS Mary 2.32-35 FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2807410 *Aug 21, 1953Sep 24, 1957Ward Wayne ARural mail box signal
US2856123 *May 16, 1957Oct 14, 1958Mary William JMailbox signal
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3709189 *Dec 20, 1971Jan 9, 1973Widham EMail delivery signal device
US4344559 *Oct 6, 1980Aug 17, 1982Widham Ernest GSignal devices for rural mailboxes
US6708875 *Mar 28, 2002Mar 23, 2004Ronald W. CunninghamMailbox signal device
US7353615May 23, 2007Apr 8, 2008Shockwatch, Inc.Anti-vibration tilt detector
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/35, 116/215
International ClassificationA47G29/122, A47G29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/121
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2