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Publication numberUS3391861 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 9, 1968
Filing dateSep 26, 1966
Priority dateSep 26, 1966
Publication numberUS 3391861 A, US 3391861A, US-A-3391861, US3391861 A, US3391861A
InventorsSeckler Fred R
Original AssigneeFred R. Seckler
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mailbox signal
US 3391861 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 9, 1968 F. R. SECKLER 3,391,861

MAILBOX SIGNAL Filed Sept. 26, 1966 IN VEN TOR.

Fred R. Sealiler a/zwew ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,391,861 MAILBOX SIGNAL Fred R. Seckler, 3300 6th St. SW., Canton, Ohio 44710 Filed Sept. 26, 1966, Ser. No. 581,895 3 Claims. (Cl. 232-35) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A signal for a rural type mailbox having a spring strip with its lower end connected to the inner surface of the hinged door of the mailbox and a brightly colored ball upon the upper end thereof, the spring strip being of such length that it may be bent inwardly and entirely enclosed within the mailbox and that in projected position the upper end will extend above the top of the box displaying the ball.

The invention relates to signal means for rural mailboxes for indicating a mail delivery, and more particularly to a door-actuated signal device.

In rural areas mailboxes are necessarily located along the road, usually a considerable distance from the house, and quite frequently on the opposite side of the road from the house. This generally necessitates long, inconvenient and often dangerous trips to and from the mailbox. It is, therefore, desirable that the owner of the mailbox may know whether the mailman has delivered any mail at his box, so as not to make unnecessary trips to the box.

Summary of the invention The invention comprises a mailbox signaling device consisting of a strip of spring material having a preferably colored rubber ball or similar article attached to one end thereof. The other end of the spring strip is adapted to be attached to the inside of a mailbox door by any attaching means such as rivets or a transversely disposed metal link and two bolts.

The spring strip is of such a length that it will extend some distance above the top of the door when in signaling position, but permitting it to be bent inward so that the ball will contact the inside of the top wall of the mailbox. If desired, a notch may be cut in the inturned rim flange on the door of the mailbox to accommodate the spring strip when the signal is in projected or signaling position.

A modified embodiment of the invention is adapted for use upon mailboxes in which the door has a rim flange received inside of the box. In this form of the signaling device the spring strip has an intermediate portion bent to accommodate said flange when the spring strip is in the projected position.

It is, therefore, an object of the invention to Provide an improved mailbox signal which will indicate when mail has been placed in the box.

Another object of the invention is to provide such a signal which will be automatically operated by opening of the mailbox door.

A further object of the invention is to provide a signal device of the character referred to having a spring load signaling portion free to be projected into signaling position by opening of the door and without interfering with subsequent closing of the door.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a ice signal device of this type which is of simple and inexpensive construction and may be easily and readily attached to a mailbox door.

Still another object of the invention is to provide such a mailbox signal consisting of a flat strip of spring metal with means for attaching the lower end to the inside of a mailbox door, a colored rubber ball or the like being attached to the upper end thereof.

The above objects together with others which will be apparent from the drawing and following description, or which may be later referred to, may be attained by constructing the improved mailbox signal in the manner hereinafter described in detail and illustrated in the ac companying drawing.

Referring to the accompanying drawing, wherein are shown two, but obviously not necessarily the only embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevation of a mailbox equipped with a signal device embodying the invention, the signal being shown projected in operated position in full lines and being shown bent in retained position within the box in broken lines;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevation of the inner side of the door, showing the signal device attached thereto;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation of a mailbox equipped with the improved signal device, in which the marginal flange of the door is not notched to receive the signal device in projected or operated position; and

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, longitudinal sectional view through a type of mailbox in which the marginal flange of the door is received within the housing of the box, showing a modified form of the signal device attached thereto and shaped to accommodate said inwardly disposed marginal door flange.

Referring now more particularly to the construction illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a conventional rural mailbox is indicated generally at 10, comprising a horizontally elongated housing 11 with flat bottom 12 and rounded top 13, as in usual construction.

The box is provided with a closed rear end 14, the front end being open and adapted to be normally closed by the door 15, hinged at its lower edge to the bottom of the front opening of the housing, as indicated at 16.

For the purpose of normally holding the door 15 in closed position, the usual straps 17 and 18 are attached to the upper front ends of the housing and door, respectively, and provided with the interfitting deformations 19 and 20, respectively, which act as latch means for the door to hold the same in closed position, as shown in FIG. 1. The side and top edges of the door 15 are provided with the usual marginal flange 21 which surrounds the corresponding portions of the side walls and top at the open end of the housing.

The signal device to which the invention pertains is adapted to be used upon a rural mail-box of conventional design as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and above described. This signal device comprises an elongated strip of spring steel, indicated at 22, having a "brightly colored rubber ball 23, or the like, fixed upon one end, the other end being adapted to be attached to the inside of the door 15 of the mailbox. The rubber ball 23 is preferably colored red so as to make the same more readily visible at a distance.

For the purpose of connecting the spring strip to the door 15, the strip is placed on the inside of the door, in vertical position with the ball 23 at the top and extending a distance above the top of the door, as best shown in FIG. 2. A link 24 is placed transversely across the lower end portion of the spring strip 22. The link 24 is attached to the door 15 by bolts 25 located through the link and door on each side of the strip 22, and nuts 26 which clamp the lower end portion of the spring strip 22 to the inner face of the door. The strip may be secured t the door in any other desired manner.

A notch 27 may be cut in the fiange 21 near the top of the door to accommodate the spring strip 22, when the signal device is in the operated or projected position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. This is the only change made in the construction of the conventional rural mailbox.

In the operation of the device, the owner of the mailbox opens the door 15 and bends the spring strip 22 inward, into the housing 11 of the box, and then closes the door, the spring strip 22 assuming the broken line position shown in FIG. 1 with the ball 23 contacting the inside of the top wall of the housing of the box.

When the mailman opens the door 15 to place mail in the box, the upper weighted end of the strip 22 will spring outward, against the inner surface of the door, and when the door is again closed by the mailman, the signal will be in the full line position shown in FIG. 1, with the spring strip upright displaying the brightly colored ball at its upper end, indicating to the owner that mail has been placed in the box.

In FIG. 3 the mailbox and door are of the same construction as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and the same reference numerals refer to the same parts thereon. This figure shows how the same signal device may be used upon a conventional mailbox without cutting a notch, as shown at 27 in FIG. 1, in the marginal flange 21 of the door.

The lower end of the spring strip 2 is attached to the inner surface of the door 15 in the same manner as shown in FIG. 2 and the red rubber ball 23, or the like, is attached to the upper end thereof.

In set position the spring strip 22 is bent within the housing of the box, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 1. When the box is opened, the upper weighted end of the spring strip 22 will spring out of the box and project upward, and when the door is again closed, the upper portion of the marginal flange 21 thereof will contact the spring strip 22 on one side, the upper portion of the outer open end of the box contacting the strip on the other side, as shown in FIG. 3. This permits use of the signal device without making any change at all in the box or door, except to drill or punch two holes in the door to receive the attaching bolts 25.

FIG. 4 shows a Slight modification of the signaling device adapted to be attached to mailboxes of a type in which the marginal flange upon the door is received within the open end of the box housing, there being a slight clearance between the flange and the inner wall of the housing.

The mailbox is indicated generally at a and comprises the horizontally elongated housing 11a, with fiat bottom 12a and rounded top 13a. The rear end of the housing is, of course, closed as shown in FIG. 1, and the front end open and adapted to be normally closed by the door 15a, hinged at its lower edge to the bottom of the front opening of the housing, as indicated at 16a.

The usual straps 17a and 18a are attached to the upper front ends of the housing and door, respectively, and provided with the interfitting deformations 19a and 20a, respectively, to provide latch means for holding the door in closed position, as shown in FIG. 4.

The side and top edges of the door 15a are provided with the marginal flange 21a which is received within the corresponding portions of the side walls and top at the open end of the housing, as shown in the drawing.

The signal device in this instance comprises an elongated strip of spring steel 22a having a brightly colored object, such as a red rubber ball indicated at 23a, fixed upon one end, the other end being adapted to be attached to the inside of the door 15a of the mailbox by a link, bolts and nuts, such as shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the same reference numerals being used to indicate these parts.

For the purpose of accommodating the marginal flange 21a on the door, the spring strip 22a is bent inwardly intermediate its ends as indicated at 27, and then downwardly and outwardly as at 28, terminating in the straight lower portion 29. The spring strip 22a may be bent inwardly into the box, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 4, the ball 23a contacting the top of the box housing.

When the door 15a is opened by the mailman to place mail in the box, the upper weighted end of the spring strip 22a will spring outward against the inner surface of' the door, and when the door is again closed by the mailman the signal will be in the full line position shown in FIG. 4, with the inwardly offset portion 27 received between the top of the housingand the marginal flange 21a of the box, the upper end of the spring strip projecting upward displaying the red ball 23a at its upper end, indicating to the owner that mail has been placed in the box.

It will be seen that the form of signal device shown in FIG. 4 may also be easily and readily applied to a mailbox of conventional design without making any change in the construction of the box or door except to drill or punch two holes in the door to receive the attaching bolts 25.

From the above it will be obvious that a simple, inexpensive signal device is provided which may be quickly and readily applied to a conventional type of rural mailbox and which will be automatically operated by opening of the mailbox door without interfering with subsequent closing of the door.

In the foregoing description certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness and understanding, but no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirements of the prior art, because such words are used for descriptive purposes herein and are intended to be broadly construed.

Moreover, the embodiments of the improved construction illustrates and described herein are by way of example, and the scope of the present invention is not limited to the exact details of construction.

Having now described the invention or discovery, the construction, the operation, and use of a preferred embodiment thereof, and the advantageous new and useful results obtained thereby; the new and useful construction, and reasonable mechanical equivalents thereof obvious to those skilled in the art, are set forth in the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A signal device for attachment to a mailbox of the type including a housing open at one end, and having a door hingedly connected at its lower edge to the open end of the housing and provided with a marginal flange cooperating with the housing; said signal device comprising a single spring strip of uniform width throughout its length having a brightly colored ball at its upper end, and means connecting the lower end portion of the spring strip to the inner surface of the door at a point spaced below the top of the door, said spring strip being of such length that in projected position the upper end thereof will extend above the top of the box displaying said brightly colored ball, the spring strip being adapted to be flexed inwardly so that the ball will contact the top wall of the box, the means connecting the spring strip to the door comprising a link located transversely of the spring strip, and bolts located through the link and through the door on opposite sides of the s ring strip and nuts on said bolts.

2. A signal device as defined in claim 1, in which a notch is provided in the upper portion of said marginal 3,391,861 5 6 flange to accommodate said spring strip, said spring strip References Cited being normally straight throughout its entire length.

3. A signal device as defined in claim 1, in which the UNITED STATES PATENTS marginal flange of the door is disposed within the open 9,0 9 5/1895 French 23234 end of the box housing, and said spring strip has an 5 908,543 1/1909 Brown 23217 offset bend intermediate its ends to accommodate said ,17 ,742 9/ 1939 Matthai 232-13 marginal flange when said spring strip is in projected 33,940 1/ 1948 Weaver 23235 position, said spring strip being curved inwardly and up- ,9 4,920 10/1960 Harger 232--35 wardly from its lower end to said oflset bend, the upper 3,207,427 9/1965 Madewell 23235 end of the spring strip being located in the same vertical 10 plane as the lower end thereof. FRANCIS K. ZUGEL, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US539049 *Sep 7, 1894May 14, 1895 Albert e
US908543 *Aug 8, 1907Jan 5, 1909Marshall BrownMail-box.
US2172742 *Jan 28, 1939Sep 12, 1939 Newspaper tube
US2433940 *Jul 25, 1945Jan 6, 1948Carrol H WeaverMailbox signal
US2954920 *May 6, 1959Oct 4, 1960Emmius Harger AitAutomatic rural mail box signal
US3207427 *Nov 21, 1962Sep 21, 1965Madewell Edwin JMail box signal
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3596631 *Mar 19, 1970Aug 3, 1971Sutton Donald FSignal device
US3866823 *Feb 12, 1974Feb 18, 1975Grayson Robert ERural mailbox signal
US4138056 *Nov 25, 1977Feb 6, 1979Sherrill James TMailbox signal
US4367844 *Aug 14, 1980Jan 11, 1983Drummond Donald JMailbox
US4805834 *Nov 16, 1987Feb 21, 1989Saba T PaulMailbox signal flag
US4875621 *Jun 27, 1988Oct 24, 1989Dolores ChiversApartment mailbox signal device
US5094386 *Mar 4, 1991Mar 10, 1992Josephine M. TabaccoMailbox signals flag apparatus
US5816489 *Jun 1, 1995Oct 6, 1998Stockman; Emanuel SolomanMailbox with visual indicator
US6659337 *Jan 31, 2002Dec 9, 2003Michael Bob WoelfelUniversal mailbox flip-flag indicator
US20050042338 *Dec 19, 2003Feb 24, 2005The Iams CompanyPet food container
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/35
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/121
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2