US 3602424 A
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7 United States Patent ma a; mam Walter Raukton 2190 Pontiac Trail N., Walled Lake, Mich.
48088 Appl. No. 831,070 Filed June 6, 1969 Patented Aug. 31, 1971 SIGNAL FLAG DEVICE 4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
0.8. CI 232/35 Int. Cl. A47g 29/12 Field ofSearch 232/35, 34, 17
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 731 ,372 6/1903 Jones 232/35 Kitchen Brown Nordin Holmes Mioduski..
Ferenci Shultz Haeberle Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel Attorney-Dale A. Winnie ABSTRACT: A signal flag device for rural mail boxes and the like, including a signal flag arm pivotally mounted to the side of a mailbox, held in a horizontal position by the cover door, and weighted to drop the flag end of the arm when the cover door is opened.
SIGNAL FLAG DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to signal flag for rural mailboxes and the like.
Although rural mailboxes are provided with a signal flag to indicate mail that is being sent out, when one wishes the postman to pick it up, very few include any sort of signal flag to indicate when mail has been delivered. Moreover, those which do include a, delivery flag are expensive and'difficult to repair, if damaged. They are not made with the average person inmind, who has neither the mechanicalaptitude nor the necessary tools to make repairs, andrcertainly not for older people in ill health whoare unableto do-s'uchthings for themselves, and cannotafford to hire someone to do it for them.
Simplicity in-design and .theutmost. assurance ofl continued proficiency in operation, without=the need for. repairs, is thus essential for a delivery flag on aruraljmailbox.
Another important thing is. that' the delivery flag should be such as can be added to a regulartrural mailbox later, and need not be purchased with the mailbox i n the first instance. People do not want to change mailboxes and somecannot affordthe extra cost, however small; that 1the-boxand @fl'ag mightlcost if bought together. However, they might-wishto addthe flag.
later. And, this means that the. installation of the delivery flag must be extremely simple, require. non-specialtools andbe practically foolproof.
While there have. been. somesuggestions that takesomeof I these things into consideration-,,,th'ere\ are no rural-mailboxv delivery flags which satisfy allof, theserequirements and it-is' believed, that this is in. large. part due to.- trying, tohavethe. delivery flag rise up and. stand=:abovethe mailbox, like the.
pickup flag does.
If the delivery flag is raised, thereiis apossibility .ofconfusion for the postman. Older vpeoplewith'pooreyesight would have the same problem. Such a.flag would-require-a counter weight or to be counterbalanced, -which adds.to-cost and/or'in stallation problems.-If the delivery flag issetback orotherwise located differently from the pickup .flag,.as.has1been tried, themechanism to operate the. flag ismore involved and'many. of
the problems of cost and maintenance, which were mentioned earlier, are present.
Thereis need for a simple signaldevice indicatingnmail deliveries, which is inexpensiveto make, so-thatthe retailprice will be reasonable, whichis-easy to install, so thatzit can.
be purchased separately and used-on-existing mailboxes,-
which is automatically .activatedwhen the postman. leaves; mail, and which is clearlya distinctive signaLthat will not be confused with-the postmans pickupflag.
SUMMARY OFTHE INVENTION 1- The present invention relatestoza signal flagfor. rural mail boxes, andthe like, which isactivatedwhen the mailbox door is opened tomake delivery. andtwhich drops down andshows below rather than above the box, in addition-toincluding all of.
the other advantages previously mentioned; 1
The delivery flag includesa simple arm-member with a flag signal on one end, a mounting-hole through which a mounting Installation is simply by makinga nailqhole punch through I the side of the-mailbox, near thedoor, forthemounting screw for the flag and a'couple. of nailholestinthedoor'for fasteningthe stop to it. The-location of the..-mounting=screw or the stop requires no template or other. precise. measurement 'andican easily be done by eye and .the-useof ordinarycommon sense.
A more thoroughdiscussion of'a. preferred'embodiment is t given in the detailed description whichfollows- DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rural mailbox having a delivery signal flag, in accord with the present invention, mounted thereon.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the mounting arrangement for the signal flag shown on the mailbox in the first drawing figure.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the flag stop on the mailbox, as used and shown in the first drawing figure.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged'cross-sectional view of the flag holding stop onthe mailbox door.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate form of stop, for the signal flag, seen looking into-a mailbox on which provided.
DETAILEDDESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS The first drawing figure shows one form of the present invention as mounted on a rural mailbox 10.
The mailbox l0 is of the conventionally known type, of galvanizedsheetmetal, with a domed or rolled part 1 2that forms its: sides and'top, a back end closure' and bottom (which are not visible in the drawing figure) and a closure door 14 that is hinged near its bottom'edge,- as at'16, to swing up and close the'mailb'ox: The edge of the closure door is rolled, as at 18, forstructural strength, and it has a handle 20 at its top edge which cooperates with a leaf spring latch member 22, mounted on the b'ox; to keep' the door closed.
The signal'device' that is mounted on the mailbox 10ineludes-an arm 24"that has'a visual signal flag 26"provided' at oneend' andwhich, in the present instance, weights the arm so that it will normally'hang in the dotted line position shown.
The signal flag':-26"may be fastened to the arm member24, or madeas a part of it, and either or both may be of metal or plastic; v i
The armmemb'er 24' is pivotally mounted on the'side of the mailbox -10=as by the means shown in FIGJZ.
All that is required is to make a nail hole punchth'roughthe side of the mailbox 10'sufficiently near the closure door 14'so that the free end 28 of the arm extends slightly beyond the door when it is closed. The relative heightof the nail hole punch isn t critical. As long'as' it is' in the relatively vertical partof the sidewall it will cause the signal flag to drop below the bottom of the box, which isthe end objective, as'will later be appreciated.
A bolt fastener 30serves as'both the attachment means and thepivot pin for the signal device. lt'may have a slightly more conical end 32' so that it ma be used to enlarge the nail hole punch, if desired, and/'orit it can include self tapping threads 34, if desired, to work its way through the sidewall of the mailbox.'However,'it is'prefe'rable, for simplicity, to use a large enough nail to provide a hole to easily receive the bolt 30 therethrough. I
A 'spacer'36',ilock washer 38 and nut 39, on the bolt 30, completetheassembly and require no specialtools'or even much'more than handtighte'ni'ng:
After the signal flagarm ismounted on the mailbox, it is held'in a horizontal position, as shown, and a nail' hole punch is made fora shoulder'stopmember 40 under the forwardly extending end ofarm 241" As shown best in F IG. 3, the shoulder stop 40 has a threaded end42; that'receivesa lock washer44 and nut'46 jto fasten it to the mailbox, and has a collar-48 thatassures'aninterference extension .Of its-other end for its intendedpurpose;
With the signal flag arm disposed horizontallyJas shown, and'on the' should'erstop 40'; the member 50, that is to be mounted'on'the'closure door, is held againstthedoorso that the locationfor two more nail hole punches, to mount it, can
be determined; The lower'edge of member'50 should'be located to hold the'freeend' 28-of'thesignal flag'arm on the stop-40 and, actually, its position is easy to determine by simplysighting down the side-of'the mail box, when'the flag is- As shown in FIG. 4, the member 50 is formed, as at 52, to match the roll 18 on the edge of the door 14 so that its free end 54 will extend a known and proper amount beyond the side of the mailbox to serve its intended purpose.
In use, the mailbox signal flag device shown in FIGS. 1-4 operates as follows:
The flag end of arm 24 is raised until its free end 28 engages the shoulder stop 40. The mailbox door 14 is then closed, causing the shoulder stop member 50 to swing, with the door, over the free end of the arm and into a position where it will hold the arm horizontally disposed and with its signal flag 26 next to the side of the mail box.
The leaf spring latch 22 holds the mailbox door closed and the shoulder stop member 50, on the door, keeps the signal flag up.
When the mail box door is opened, as by the postman in making a mail delivery, the shoulder stop member 50 swings out with the door, releasing the signal flag arm, and being weighted by the flag, and/or its pivotal fulcrum, being so disposed for a like effect, the arm swings into the dotted line position shown with the signal flag 26 clearly visible below the mail box.
A second signal flag variation encompassed within the scope of this invention is shown in FIG. 5.
The structure is essentially the same as that previously described and so like reference numerals have been used. However, the closure door for the mail box has been removed to better shown a significant innovation.
in this instance, a square block 60, or like means, is mounted on the pivot pin 30, inside the mail box, and is made to turn with the signal flag arm 24. It is located, by so mounting the signal flag arm 24, so that its flat side 62 will be parallel and engaged by the mailbox door, when closed, to hold the signal flag horizontal. Thus, it eliminates the need for a shoulder stop member on the closure door, but it serves essentially the same purpose.
Although not mentioned before, it will be appreciated that neither the previously described structure, nor this one, require the prepositioning shoulder stop for the functional operation intended. It serves principally as a means to preclude a full circle swinging of the arm, and, where desired, as a means to fix the signal flag in its ready position against rattling by the wind, if this should be a problem.
The standard pickup flag, to signal the postman to stop for mail, is shown in FIG. 5 and is identified as 70. Since it is no part of the present invention, no description is necessary, other than to comment on the fact that the different signal flags are nonconflicting, separate and distinct from each other.
1. The combination of a rural mailbox, first signal means moveable from a first nonsignaling position to a first signaling position for indicating to a mail carrier that said mailbox contains mail to be taken by said mail carrier, and second signal means separate from said first signal means and moveable from a second nonsignaling position to a second signaling position for indicating to the owner of said mailbox that mail has been deposited within said mailbox by said mail carrier, said mailbox comprising a housing having an open forward end, side and top wall portions, a door hinged at its lower end on a lower part of said mailbox for closing said open end, said first signal means comprising a manually positionable signal flag device including a first arm member pivotally secured to a part of said sidewall portion so as to have a swingable end carrying a first flag portion, said first arm member being rotatable from said first nonsignaling position whereat said first arm member is generally horizontally disposed to said first signaling position'whereat said first arm member is generally vertically positioned with said first flag portion being disposed upwardly at said swingable end, said first flag portion when moved to said first signaling position being effective for indicating to said mail carrier that said mail box contains mail to be taken by said mail carrier, said second signal means comprising a manually positionable second signal flag device including a second arm member pivotally secured by cooperating pivot means to a part of said side wall portion, said second arm member comprising third and fourth arm portions, said third arm portion having a second swingable end carrying a second flag portion, said second signal flag device being so weighted with respect to said cooperating pivot means as to tend to freely rotate about said cooperating pivot means from said second nonsignaling position whereat said third arm portion is generally horizontally disposed to said second signaling position whereat said third arm portion is generally vertically positioned, and fixed latching means carried by said door, said latching means being effective only when said door is in a closed position to operatively engage said fourth arm portion and thereby hold said third arm portion in said second nonsignaling position, said latching means also being effective when said door is moved from said closed position toward an open position to unlatch said fourth arm portion and release said second signal flag device to rotate about said cooperating pivot means to said second signaling position, said latching means being ineffective to again operatively engage said fourth arm portion until said second signal flag device is first manually rotated to said second nonsignaling position and said door is moved to said closed position; abutment means carried by said sidewall portion, said abutment means being so located as to be in the general path of travel of said third arm portion in order to abutably determine the attitude of said third arm portion when said second signal flag device assumes said second signaling position, and said abutment means is so located as to also serve as a prepositioning abutment effective for engaging said fourth arm portion when said third arm portion is manually rotated toward said second nonsignaling position.
2. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said first signal means and said second signal means are situated on opposite sides of said mailbox.
3. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said fourth arm portion is of a length as to extend beyond said door when said door is in said closed position, and wherein said latching means comprises an abutment arm carried by said door, said abutment arm being of a length as to extend beyond the sidewall portion of said mailbox when said door is in said closed position.
4. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said second flag portion is disposed in a downwardly depending position when said second signaling means is moved to said second signaling'position.