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Publication numberUS3258564 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1966
Filing dateAug 5, 1964
Priority dateJul 17, 1962
Publication numberUS 3258564 A, US 3258564A, US-A-3258564, US3258564 A, US3258564A
InventorsConigliaro Thomas S
Original AssigneeNicholas Conigliaro
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic thermal cutout for use with mail box indicator and door signal
US 3258564 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 28, 1966 T. s. CONIGLIARO AUTOMATIC THERMAL CUTOUT FOR USE WITH MAIL BOX INDICATOR AND DOOR SIGNAL Original Filed July 17, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 m m mum Tn T W m. VC 6 W A w 2 m 1 T fi B 1 m m WW [I II III III W m A fiw i 0 7 Z 6 R 3 0 m- I ML M.|STF A? m M 5 .l|

June 28, 196 'r. s. CONIGLIARO 3,258,56

AUTOMATIC THERMAL CUTOUT FOR USE WITH MAIL BOX INDICATOR AND DOOR SIGNAL Original Filed July 17, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTQR. 26 Thomas S. Coniglmro United States Patent AUTOMATIC THERMAL CUTOUT FOR USE WITH MAIL BOX INDICATOR AND DOOR SIGNAL Thomas S. Conigliaro, Bridgeport, Conn., assignor of onehalf to Nicholas Conigliaro, Carbondale, Pa.

Original application July 17, 1962, Ser. No. 210,424, now

Patent No. 3,150,361, dated Sept. 22, 1964. Divided and this application Aug. 5, 1964, Ser. No. 387,751

4 Claims. (Cl. 200-116) The present application is a division of my application Serial No. 210,424, filed July 17, 1962, and entitled, Mail Indicator and Door Signal.

This invention relates to signal and indicator systems, and more particularly to systems of this type which incorporate door or entrance signal-s and mail box indicators.

The invention concerns improvements in the signal and indicator systems of my copending application Serial No. 137,766, filed September 13, 1961, and entitled, Combined Door Signal and Mail Indicator System, and of my Patent No. 3,008,132, issued November 7, 1961, entitled, Mail Indicator Device, and Patent No. 3,008,133, issued November 7, 1961, entitled Combined Door Signal and Mail Indicator Device.

An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved door signal and mail indicator system which effects both visual and temporary audible indications as to the presence of mail in the mail box, utilizing the fewer possible components and also utilizing a simplified circuit whereby the manufacturing cost is held to a minimum.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved signal and indicator system as above, which is reliable in operation and not likely to get out of order, thereby requiring a minimum amount of servicing and maintenance.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a simple and improved automatic electric cut-out for use with an indicator system as above characterized, to .enable a momentary audible signal to be had when mail is deposited in the mail box.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel unitary mail indicator instrument and door signal accessory which is small and compact, attractive and easily operated, with the necessary manual controls and visual signal conveniently disposed at the casing front where it is readily accessible for viewing and adjustment.

Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.

In the drawing accompanying this specification, similar characters of reference are used to designate like components throughout the several views, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a unitary mail indicator instrument illustrating one embodiment of the invention.

FIG, 2 is a front perspective view ofanother unitary mail indicator instrument made in accordance with the invention, illustrating another embodiment thereof.

FIG. 3 is a schematic circuit diagram of the improved door signal and mail indicator device.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic representation of a mail box having incorporated in it a simplified mail-actuated switch mechanism as provided by the invention.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of another type of mail box, that commonly used for rural delivery, having incorporated therein a simplified mailactuated switch means as provided by the invention.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary horizontal section taken on the line 66 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a novel electric circuit cut-out device for effecting a temporary operation of the audible signal of the indicator means, as provided by the invention.

FIG. 8 is a view partly in side elevation and partly in section, of the electric cut-out device of FIG. 7.

Considering first FIG. 1, the unitary mail indicating instrument and door signal accessory shown therein comprises a generally rectangular open-backed casing member 10 having a mounting or base edge portion 12, and having a front wall or panel 14. Terminals 16 are disposed at the top of the base portion 12 for connection with the door signal, signal lines, a source of supply and a mail-operated switch, all to be described. Referring to FIG. 3, the casing 10 is indicated diagrammatically by the broken rectangular outline which has been given the same number.

Disposed on the front panel 14 is a visual indicator device comprising a curved globe or lens 18 having a convex front face 20 and flat sides 22. On the face 20 the word MAIL may be provided, as shown. Within the lens 18 is an incandescent electric lamp 24a of small voltage and power rating, such lamp being designated diagrammatically by a broken outline. In FIG. 3, the lamp 24a may be considered as constituting the visual indicator shown by the box 24.

The front panel 14 also mounts an on-off switch 26, and additionally a reset button 28 which constitutes a portion of an electric cut-out device indicated generally by the broken outline 30 in FIG. 1. In FIG. 3 the electric cut-out device is shown diagrammatically, and the diagrammatic showing is given the numeral 30a.

In series with the visual indicator 24 (see FIG. 1) is a rheostat 32, such rheostat being inserted in a lead wire 34 connected with the indicator. The rheostat 32 has a shaft 36 which is accessible through an opening 38 in the front panel 14. Similarly, the electric cut-out device 30a has an adjusting screw 40 which is accessible through an opening 42 in the front panel 14.

A name plate 44 may be afiixed to the front panel 14 to cover the openings 38 and 42 and the adjustment screws 36 and 40, this being shown by way of example in the instrument illustrated in FIG. 2. The instrument of this figure is generally similar to that of FIG. 1 with the exception that the visual indicator designated 24b, is in the form of an electric meter having a deflecting coil 48 and a pointer 50, the latter being movable over a scale having two colored zones 52 and 54 labelled respectively NO and YES, and having the word MAIL in large printing. The instrument movement 24b thusis an alternative for the incandescent lamp 24a and the lens 18. Both the incandescent lamp 24a and the instrument movement 24b constitute visual indicators to reveal the presence of mail as effected by the indicator system, as will be shortly described.

Referring now to the circuit diagram of FIG. 3, the indicator system is shown as "operating from a source of current such as a conventional door bell or door chime transformer 55 having a secondary coil 56 connected by a lead 57 to the conventional front door push button 58. The push button 58 is connected by a lead 59 to a terminal 60 of the unit instrument, which terminal is in turn connected by a lead 61 to the door bell 62 (or chimes) of the dwelling or building. The bell 62 is connected by a wire 64 to a terminal 66 of the instrument, from which a wire 68 goes to the on-off switch 26, the latter being also connected by a wire 70 to a terminal 72.

From the terminal 72 a wire 74 connects to the remainforth there is provided a novel mail indicator device involving the visual indicator 24, a mail box switch 76, the electric cut-out 30a, and an audible signal device such as a buzzer 78.

As shown in FIG. 3, the visual indicator 24 is connected by a wire 80 to the on-off switch 26, and the wire 34 of the visual indicator is connected to a terminal 82 of the unit. From the terminal 82 a wire 84 leads to the mail-box switch 76, and from such switch a wire 86 connects with the wire 52 of the transformer secondary 50.

The mail-box switch 76 may comprise a miniature snap switch of the type well known in the electrical art. Such a switch is indicated by the broken outline 76a, shown in FIG. 4, where it is mounted on the rear wall of an upright type mail box, the latter being diagrammatically illustrated by a simple outline, designated 88.

Considering again FIG. 3, the electric cut-out 30a is of the thermal-responsive type, comprising a pair of biasedapart switch blades 94 and 96 (see also FIGS. 7 and 8) which are normally held in engagement with each other by a bimetallic arm 98, said arm being influenced by a heater coil 100.

The switch blades 94 and 96 are disposed in parallel relation with each other, and are carried by an elongated rectangular insulating base 102, being secured thereto by suitable rivets as shown. Interlposed between the switch arms 94 and 96 is a rigid stop arm 104 arranged to engage the switch arm 94 and constitute a stop therefor, which prevents the arm 94 from following the cooperable arm 96 when the latter is released. The bimetallic arm 98 is also carried at one end by the base 102, and at its other or free end abuts the switch blade 96 as seen in FIG. 8. Upon the heater 100 becoming energized and being heated, it will impart heat to the bimetallic arm 98, flexing the latter in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 8 to cause it to disengage the switch blade 96. Upon this occurring, the switch blade 96 will also shift clockwise, separating from the switch blade 94 and opening the circuit.

A reset plunger 104 is reciprocable in a mounting bushing 106 carried by the base 102, said plunger having the button 28 and also comprising an inner end 108 which is engageable with the switch blade 96 to manually restore the latter to engagement with the switch blade 94. When such resetting is efiected by actuation of the plunger 104, the bimetallic arm 98 will again return to the FIG. 8 position, presuming that it has become sufliciently cool to do this.

Considering again FIG. 3, the switch blade 96 is connected by a wire 1:10 to the wire 34, and the blade 94 is connected by a wire 112 to one terminal of the audible signal 78. The said signal terminal is also connected by a wire 114 to the heater 100, which is in turn connected by a wire 116 to the on-oif switch 26. The remaining terminal of the audible signal 78 is connected by a wire 120 to the wire 1 16. In FIG. 3 the bias normally experienced by the resilient switch blade 96 is illustrated diagrammatically by means of a coil spring 124.

The audible signal 78 is thus seen to be bridged by the heater 100, both of these receiving energy through the switch blades 94, 96.

In accordance with the invention, by making the audible signal 78 in the form of a well-known make-andbreak device such as a buzzer, a more effective heating and energization of the heater 100 is obtained for several reasons. For one thing, when the circuit through the coils of the buzzer 78 is being repeatedly broken, the heater 100 will receive virtually full energy from the transformer 48. For another thing, upon the buzzer armature breaking the circuit, an induced voltage will occur in the coils of the buzzer, and such voltage, through the are occurring at the armature contacts of the buzzer, will also tend to energize the heater 100 with voltage spikes during certain like-polarized portions of the cycle of the energizing current. These voltage spikes and the spark discharge produce, as is well known, radio interference signals in the air, and the parallel-connected heater effects a damping of the spark and signals, to reduce radio and television picture interference. Also, any open-circuit failure of the parallel connected heater will not interfere with operation of the audible signal 78.

The buzzer 78 may be mounted in any convenient place, within the casing 10, as for example on the bottom wall thereof.

The foregoing completes the connections of the present improved signal and indicator system.

Operation is as follows: As already mentioned, when the push button 54 is depressed, it will result in the door bell 62 becoming energized in the usual manner.

When mail is deposited in the mail box 88 it will effect a closing of the mail-operated switch 76, and this will cause energization of the visual indicator 24, which may be either the incandescent lamp 24a, see FIG. 1, or the electrical meter type movement 2412, see FIG. 2. Thus a visual indication is given of the presence of the mail in the box 88. Also at the same time an audible indication is given of the presence of mail by virtue of the buzzer 78 being energized through the switch contacts 94, 96. Simultaneously the heater 100' will be energized, and this will heat and flex the bimetallic arm 98. Upon the bimetallic arm being sufficiently flexed, it will separate from the switch blade 96 enabling the latter to shift away from the blade 94, thereby opening the circuit through the audible signal 78. Upon the user removing the mail from the box 88, the switch 76 will again open. Thereafter, the heat responsive switch 94, 96 is manually reset by actuation of the plunger 164 in the manner already described above. The system is then in readiness for the next mail delivery.

The time interval during which the buzzer 78 sounds may be varied by adjusting or turning the adjusting screw 40 in the base 102, see FIG. 8, which alters the cold position of the bimetallic arm 98.

Considering now the details of the mail-operated switch means as provided by the invention and referring to FIG. 4, there is illustrated a switch actuator arm 128 in the form of a slender wire having its free end bent at right angles and carrying a light metal sleeve 130 through which a slender cross piece or cross arm 132 passes. The sleeve 130 .secures the cross arm 132 rigidly t0 the actuator arm 128, and when mail (such as the envelope 134 shown in FIG. 4) is deposited in the mail box 88 the Weight of the mail will push downward the arms 132 and 128, closing the switch 76.

By the use of suitable switch units and actuator arms, a weight of as little of one ounce or less will be suflicient to actuate the switch and close the circuit, for the purpose of effecting an indication of the presence of mail.

Another embodiment of the invention, comprising a novel and improved switch mechanism for a rural-type mail box, is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. In these figures, the body of the mail box is indicated at 138. The mail box has a bottom wall and a hingedlymounted front door 142 carried by pivot rivets 144. In FIG. 5 the door 142 is shown in the closed position, the open position being indicated by the dotted outline 146. Mounted on the underside of the bottom wall 148 of the mail box is a miniature type non-biased electric snap switch 148 having a reset lever 150 by which it may be shifted to the open position after being once closed. The switch 148 has a plunger operator 152 which is actuated by a slender lever 154, the latter carrying a roller 156 disposed in an opening 158 of a depending flange 160 constituted as an integral part of the bottom wall 140 of the mail box. Normally, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the front door 142 of the mail box holds the lever 154 in a retracted position wherein the switch 148 is open-circuited. However, when the front door 142 is operated to open the mail box for the purpose of placing mail therein, the lever 154 will swing clockwise as viewed in FIG. 6, closing the circuit through the switch 148. Even when the door 142 is again closed the switch 148 will remain in closedcircuit condition until such time as the user manually resets it to the open-circuit position by actuation of the reset lever 150.

It will now be understood from the foregoing that I have provided a novel and improved, greatly simplified yet effective and reliable combination door signal and mail indicator device which has a number of desirable features. It provides both a visual and an audible indication as to the presence of mail, and the audible indication is automatically discontinued after a small predetermined elapse of time, starting with the closing of the mail actuator switch. The indicator system involves relatively few components, and is of flexible design whereby it may be utilized with existing mail boxes and door signal systems. Adjustment of the energizat-ion of. the visual signal, and adjustment of the time interval of the audible signal, as well as resetting of the thermal cutout may be easily effected from the front of the unit. The unit may also be rendered inoperative at will, by opening the on-ofi switch mounted on the front panel. The unit is small and compact, and constitutes an attractive adjunct for the home or oifice building.

Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims, and portions of the improvement may be used without others.

I claim:

1. An electric cut-out mechanism comprising, in combination:

(a) a base,

(b) a pair of cooperable resilient switch blades having laterally movable end portions, said blades being mounted on the base and disposed substantially parallel to each other, one of said blades being biased away from the other,

(c) a bimetallic arm at one end carried by the base and extending substantially perpendicular to the switch blade, said arm at its free end being laterally movable and abutting said one blade adjacent the free end thereof for maintaining the blade engaged with said other blade, said one blade and said arm constituting an angular structure having a hollow which is spanned by the base,

(d) electric heater means disposed adjacent the bimetallic arm to effect a flexing of the same when the heater means is energized, thereby to disengage the arm from said one blade to enable separation of the latter from the other blade, and

(e) a manual reset plunger movably carried by the base and having a free portion extending from the base into said hollow of the angular structure, said free portion being engageable with the said one blade to move the latter against its bias, thereby to restore the engagement of the blades and abutment of the one blade by the bimetallic arm when the arm is cold, said plunger initially engaging said one blade at an acute angle and subjecting the blade to a camming action.

2. A cut-out mechanism as in claim 1, wherein:

(a) the line of movement of the reset plunger makes an acute angle with said one blade and said bimetallic arm,

(b) said one blade, arm and plunger being disposed substantially in a common plane.

3. A cut-out mechanism as in claim 1, wherein:

(a) the plunger has a finger-engageable end which is exposed at one surface of the base,

(b) means comprising an adjustment screw having one end exposed at said one surface of the base, for adjustably positioning said bimetallic arm.

4. A cut-out mechanism as in claim 1, wherein:

(a) the plunger when being advanced closely approaches the cold position of the bimetallic arm and engages said one blade at a point adjacent said arm when the latter is cold.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,336,652 4/1920 Ott ZOO-61.63 1,752,091 3/1930 Johnson 200116 2,519,297 8/1950 Stump et al. 200116 2,824,932 2/1958 Ellenberger 200-116 3,009,999 11/1961 Johnson 200-116 3,040,141 6/ 1962 Whilden et al 20061.63

FOREIGN PATENTS 513,143 10/ 1939 Great Britain.

5 BERNARD A. GILHEANY, Primary Examiner.

B. DOBECK, H. B. GILSON, Assistant Examiners.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1336652 *Apr 1, 1918Apr 13, 1920Otto Frank JElectric mail-indicator
US1752091 *Nov 25, 1929Mar 25, 1930Johnson Charles BDelayed circuit-breaking light switch
US2519297 *Mar 27, 1947Aug 15, 1950Westinghouse Electric CorpCircuit breaker
US2824932 *Jul 15, 1955Feb 25, 1958Ellenberger & PoensgenThermal overload circuit breaker
US3009999 *Jun 24, 1958Nov 21, 1961Arrow Hart & Hegeman ElectricTool handle switch with overload protection
US3040141 *Apr 2, 1959Jun 19, 1962May Whidin OrvillaSignal systems
GB513143A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4484185 *Aug 12, 1983Nov 20, 1984Graves James DSafety plug adapter
U.S. Classification337/72, 337/77, 337/102, 337/109
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/1225, A47G2029/1226, A47G2029/1228
European ClassificationA47G29/122S