US 3401875 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
R. BRUHNS Sept. 17, 1968 MAILBOX 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 20, 1967 FOBZFT ZAI/HNJ g i E ATT RNE'Y;
R. BRUHNS Sept. 17, 1968 MAILBOX Filed Nov. 20, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR 63 Fuzz/Yr Bil/HMS United States Patent 3,401,875 MAILBOX Robert Bruhns, RR. 1, Box 32-B, Leesburg, Fla. 32748 Filed Nov. 20, 1967, Ser. No. 684,213 Claims. (Cl. 23234) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A mailbox having multiple compartments for receiving and holding against pilferage mail or other valuables.
Background of the invention (1) Field of the inventi0n.The invention relates to deposit and collection receptacles used in the deposit, secure retention and collection of mail and other valuables.
(2) Description of the prior art.Mailboxes of various kinds have been produced for use in connection with the delivery, retention, and collection of mail, and in the deposit and collection of other valuables. These have not been fully satisfactory since they did not keep the mail or other valuables safely, under lock and key, until removed by authorized persons. Also the storage space was small.and no provision was made for holding accumulated mail or other objects in the absence of the patron with the result that pilfering occurred.
Summary The invention is a mailbox or other receptacle for receiving and securely retaining mail or other valuables and comprises a housing with upper and lower compartments with or without a lower drawer. The upper drawer has a longitudinally and centrally split floor, the halves of which are pivoted at each side beyond the width of the drawer and in a manner that the halves can drop down when the drawer is closed. The lower drawer is provided with a cylinder lock and key. Beneath the front of the upper drawer is located a fixed cam which engages and causes the depending halves to move them upwardly to closed position when the drawer is pulled open and beyond the front of the housing. In this position mail or other material may be deposited in the drawer and the drawer closed, its contents dropping by gravity to the lower drawer where such contents can only be removed by an authorized person by means of the key in a cylinder lock. On the side of the mailbox is a flag which, when elevated to an upright position, after the drawer is open retains the two halves of the floor of the upper drawer in horizontal position so that mail placed in the box for collection by the carrier will remain in the upper drawer, after which the carrier may deposit the incoming mail, and as is customary close the drawer and lower the flag which permits the two halves of the drawer to fall downwardly and the mail to drop therebetween.
It is an object of the invention to provide at moderate cost a box or container for mail and other objects designed to maintain the contents securely under lock and key until removed by an authorized person, as well as to provide a mailbox of suflicient capacity to hold mail or other valuables which accumulate when the user is away and the contents unremoved for a few days, thus avoiding the necessity for the removal of the mail or the holding of the same by the carrier.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Brief description of the drawings FIG. 1 is a perspective illustrating one application of the invention;
3,401,875 Patented Sept. 17, 1968 FIG. 2, a longitudinal section on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3, a vertical section on the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4, a horizontal section on the line 44 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5, is a fragmentary view illustrating the movement of the drawer showing the closed portion of the bottom approximately on the line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6, a fragmentary side elevation of FIG. 5 with parts broken away and the drawer pulled out to reveal the operation;
FIG. 7, a vertical section through a modified form box with doors at each end of the lower compartment and without a drawer; and
FIG. 8, a perspective of a sheet material type of cam.
Description of the preferred embodiment The invention comprises a housing 10 which is relatively strong and durable regardless of Whether composed of Fiberglas or other composition, aluminum, steel or other metal and having upper and lower drawers 11 and 12, respectively. The housing 10 has upper and lower openings 13 and 14 at its front end for admission to and the reception of the upper and lower drawers. Also it has an opening 15 at its rear so that access can be had to the lower drawer through the rear of the housing. In other words, the lower drawer can be moved into and from the housing through the front or the rear of the latter. The front and rear ends of the housing preferably are designed so that the top of the housing projects beyond the bottom of the housing so that the overhang serves as a protection from rain.
The lower drawer has front and rear panels 16 and handles 17, said panels being small enough to afford access to the drawer through the front and rear openings 14 and 15. Each panel 16 is provided with a cylinder lock 18 of conventional construction having a movable lock member 19 which is received behind a front plate 20 and a rear plate 21 with outwardly flanged lower edges 22 and 23 to protect the drawer from the weather. By operating either cylinder lock 18, the drawer may be opened at either end of the cabinet.
The lower drawer is formed of a. single sheet having a bottom 24, sides 25 and integral ends 26. The sides are provided at their ends with right angular flanges 27 to which the ends are secured by rivets or other fasteners. The sides are provided at their upper edges with right angular inwardly turned flanges 28 while the ends of the drawers are provided with inwardly right angular flanges 29. This manner of making the drawer provides maximum strength. An added plate forms the face panel 16 at each end of the drawer, and this face panel is secured in any desired manner to the end members of the drawer.
The bottom of the housing may be composed of a separate plate 31 and in order to cause the drawer to ride with reduced friction, coacting ribs and grooves 32 and 33 may be provided as illustrated in FIG. 3 with the ribs fixed to the bottom surface of the drawer and the grooves in the bottom 31 of the housing although obviously this structure may be reversed and if preferred the nylon strips 32 may be omitted. Above each end of the drawer at both sides of the housing are provided nontip anti-friction rollers 34 and the housing is provided with retention latches 35 arranged to engage the upper flange of the drawer to prevent its complete removal until the gravity operated latches 35 are tipped.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that access may be had to the lower drawer from each end of the housing.
Access to the upper drawer is only through the front end of the housing. The upper drawer 11 is mounted by means of a pair of channels and anti-friction nylon rollers or bearings between the top and bottom at each side of the drawer. Outwardly facing channels 36 are attached to the side walls of the drawer and a pair of inwardly facing channels 37 are fastened to the inner walls of the housing below the channels 36. The channels 36 receive therein rollers 38 attached to the housing adjacent the front thereof to support the drawer for ease of movement While at the rear portion of the drawer are rollers 39 attached to the side walls of the drawer which operate within channels 37 for cooperative ease of movement of the drawer and for preventing undue tilting of the drawer when it is pulled outwardly.
The upper drawer is provided with a rear end 40, two sides 41 and overlapping front end portions 42, all of integral construction. To the overlapping front ends is fastened a front panel 43 to which a handle 44 is attached. The sides have right angular reversely turned flanges 45 at the upper edges and at the lower edges downwardly turned portions 46 which not only strengthen the lower edges but serve to provide enlarged mounting flanges for the outwardly turned piano hinges 47, by means of which each longitudinal section 48 of the bottom is provided. The contiguous edges of each longitudinal half section 48 have a portion 49 reversely turned upon itself to strengthen such edges. Thus the drawer has a trap door at its bottom. Across the lower edge of the rear end of the drawer is an angular portion 50 serving to add strength as well as acting as a stop for the upward movement of the halves of the drawer. The longitudinal half sections extend from the rear end and terminate short of the front end of the drawer from which location an angular plate 51 is provided forming a part of and being attached to the front plate 43 and extending downwardly and rearwardly in an inclined extension and providing beneath the same a chamber of V-shaped cross section. The front plate 20 is provided with right angular reversely turned end flanges 52. Behind the front plate is mounted by means of fasteners 53 a yoke-type member which extends from side to side of the housing and has rearwardly extending parallel arm portions 54 secured to the side walls of the housing. This yoke-type member forms a cam having a portion extending forwardly and upwardly into a narrow short central upwardly inclined portion 55 located near the front of the housing.
When the drawer is in its innermost position, the pivoted sides which form the bottom fall downwardly in a position to leave the bottom of the drawer unobstructed but when the drawer is pulled forwardly, the pivoted bottom members are moved from a depending to a horizontal bottom forming portion for the drawer.
In order to maintain the bottom of the trap door closed, a closure or flag arm 56 is provided which has a portion 57 which engages under the adjacent edges of the two halves of the bottom and holds them in horizontal position. This arm corresponds to the conventional mailbox signal. In order to maintain this arm in upright position with the bottom of the drawer closed, a flexible latch 58 on the exterior of the housing is employed.
When the top drawer is withdrawn from the housing, the two halves of the bottom will be raised to a horizontal position by the cam 54 whereupon the flag can be raised and mail placed in the top drawer and the drawer closed. When the postman arrives, he may pull out the drawer, remove the mail and deposit any mail that he may have for the patron after which, upon closing the drawer and moving the flag downwardly, the bottom halves of the drawer will drop downwardly permitting the contents to drop into the lower part of the box.
In FIG. 7 is illustrated a modified form without a lower drawer, but instead with doors 60 in each end and having a handle 61 and a lock 62, each door being mounted on a pivot 63 below the lower plate 31 of the housing 10.
Purpose The function of the security mailbox is just what the name implies, to keep the mail safely under lock and key until removed by the patron.
This helps the carrier, too, since it will not be necessary for the carrier to hold the mail should the patron be gone for a few days, as storage space is ample. The boxes can be made in several sizes to fit the need.
Operation The upper drawer has a split floor that drops down on each side when closed. As the drawer is extended outward, the half floor which hangs vertical on both sides is cammed by being drawn against a fixed incline plane and completely closes the floor before the drawer has opened beyond the front top of the box. When the drawer is fully extended by the carrier, the mail is then deposited and when the drawer is closed, the mail falls into the lower drawer, and then can be removed only by the patron with a key for the cylinder lock.
You will note that the floor of the upper drawer is hinged so that there is not a chance of the mail hanging up. Should the patron wish to place mail in the box for collection by the carrier, the upper drawer is pulled out and the mail placed therein, the flag is brought up in the upright position, which holds the floor up after the drawer is closed. The carrier thereafter upon opening the drawer removes the outgoing mail for the patron, he at the same time makes the deposit of the incoming mail, closes the drawer and lowers the flag which drops the fioor, permitting the mail to drop into the lower drawer, and the operation is completed. Closing the box and dropping the flag is a maneuver which he now does.
Instead of the cam 54 of wire or rod stock, a cam 54' of sheet material may be used, as illustrated in FIG. 8. Such cam will be located in the box at an angle of approximately 45 and will have mounting end portions 54". This cam will operate the same as the cam 54 to engage the trap doors and retain them in closed position when the drawer is open.
As I see it:
Points to be considered important as a basis for a search.
(1) Split fioor in drawer.
(2) Fixed cam that closes split floor in drawer.
.(3) Operation of flag that holds floor of drawer in closed position.
(4) Set back of hinge attached to both sides of floor so that mail has full clearance when dropped to lower drawer.
(6) Emphasis should be made on the split floor of the drawer as being most important. The .methods of lifting the floor can be many, and the language should be broad to include everything possible. I built another box that instead of the drawer, I made a door that pulls down causing the split floor to be cammed to an upward closed position, the cam being a part of the door below the hinge.
It will be apparent from the foregoing that a mailbox or container for other valuables is provided of relatively strong, durable construction which will provide maximum security against tampering and pilferage and which can be readily manufactured at a reasonable cost and which is of sufiicient size and capacity to serve the purpose for which it is intended even though the contents are not removed daily.
It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that various changes may be made in the described embodiment of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, and, therefore, the invention is not limited by that which is illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification, but only as indicated in the accompanying claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A mailbox comprising a housing having an area for storage in its lower portion and an area for a sliding drawer in its upper portion, a sliding drawer for location in said last-mentioned area, said sliding drawer having a trap door bottom of two equal longitudinal portions pivoted along their remote side edges further apart than the sides of the drawer so that when they are hanging downwardly the space between the sides is unobstructed, cam means mounted in said housing in a position that when said drawer is withdrawn from said housing said bottom portions will be moved by said cam means to horizontal bottom closing position, and means independent of said cam means for supporting said bottom in closed position whereby mail to be picked up by a carrier may be placed in said drawer and removed by said carrier after which mail to be delivered may be place-d in said drawer, the drawer closed and the bottom allowed to dump mail into the lower portion of said housing and when the drawer is pulled out it will be closed to shut off access to the lower interior portion of said housing.
2. The structure of claim 1 and the drawer slidable in the lower portion of said housing at one end or the opposite end, and means for locking said drawer in the lower portion of said housing.
3. The structure of claim 2, a drawer slidable in the lower portion of said housing through either end of said housing, and locking means for fastening sai-d drawer in the lower portion of said housing in closed position.
4. A mailbox comprising a housing and upper and lower drawers, the upper drawer having a bottom divided centrally lengthwise with half portions pivoted at the sides of the drawer and further apart than the width of the drawer so that they form an unobstructed trap door through which material deposited in the upper drawer can be allowed to fall by gravity, means for holding the trap door closed so that the material thereon may not drop through said trap door, said last-mentioned means including a cam for causing the trap door to close.
5. The structure of claim 4 in which said earn means includes a fixed member mounted in the path of movement of the drawer in the upper portion of said housing and having a bent over camming edge extending from each side of the housing centrally and forwardly to a central elevated boss.
6. A mailbox comprising a housing having an area in its lower portion for storage, a drawer slidably mounted in the upper portion of said housing, said drawer having trap door means pivoted at the side of its bottom, and means whereby said trap door means may be selectively maintained opened or closed when said drawer is within said housing, said last mentioned means including a signal flag on the exterior of said housing adapted to be raised and lowered to maintain the trap door means closed or permitted to open.
7. A mailbox comprising a housing having an area in its lower portion for storage, a drawer mountable in the upper portion of said housing, said drawer having a bottom of a construction to open fully to discharge the entire contents of the drawer into said lower portion and with no underlying obstruction to interefer with mail dropping therethrough, means on said box whereby said bottom may be selectively maintained closed when said drawer is wholly within said housing or allowed to open fully to discharge the entire contents of the drawer into said lower portion, and means for causing said bottom to be closed when said drawer is pulled from said housing into open position.
8. The structure of claim 7 and door means affording access to said area in the lower portion of said housing.
9. A mailbox comprising a housing having an area in its lower portion for storage, a drawer slidably mounted in the upper portion of said housing, said drawer having a trap door in its bottom, means on said box whereby said trap door may be selectively maintained closed when said drawer is wholly within said housing or allowed to open full to discharge the entire contents of the drawer into said lower portion, and said last mentioned means including means controllable from the exterior of said housing.
10. The structure of claim 9 and cam means operating to close said trap door when said drawer is opened.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 170,141 11/1875 Wilcoxson 23247 384,596 6/1888 Smith 23248 413,928 10/1889 Cook 23248 728,353 5/ 1903 Barnes 23247 1,111,031 9/ 1914 Petri 23248 1,309,328 7/1919 McClymonds 23247 1,696,522 12/1928 Clegg et al. 2324 X 2,690,870 10/ 1954 Harman 23243.2
FRANCIS K. ZUGEL, Primary Examiner.