US 3680773 A
An entrance is provided in the rear wall of a conventional, single compartment, rural mail box to permit removal of the contents without stepping into the adjacent roadway. The entrance comprises a rear panel that opens in response to a force applied thereto in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis of the main box.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Thompson [451 Aug. 1, 1972  RURAL MAIL BOX  Inventor: P. D. Thompson, 2550 Weymouth Rd., Winston-Salem, NC. 27103  Filed: Aug. 19, 1970  Appl. No.: 65,075
52 U.S.C1....; ..232/17,232/43.1 51 Int. Cl. ..B6Sd 91/00 58 FieldofSearch ..232/17,25,45,27, 22,24,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,106,335 10/1963 Allan ..232/17 592,903 11/1897 Bruseau ..232/45 2,983,437 5/1961 Vandruff ..232/17 3,222,665 12/1965 Tracy ..232/36 X 1,714,543 5/1929 Blaser ..232/17 12/1951 Stone ..232/27 1,056,430 3/1913 Mason ..232/53 1,797,419 3/1931 Hothersall ..220/41 X 1,142,286 6/1915 Trimble ..232/45 2,525,888 10/1950 Freeman ..220/41 X 2,646,214 7/1953 Cuplin ..232/45 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 391,296 4/1933 Great Britain ..220/41 Primary Examiner-Bobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Peter A. Aschenbrenner Attorney-Hunt, Heard & Rhodes  ABSTRACT An entrance is provided in the rear wall of a conventional, single compartment, rural mail box to permit removal of the contents without stepping into the adjacent roadway. The entrance comprises a rear panel that opens in response to a force applied thereto in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis of the main box.
2 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAUB 1 m2 F. D. THOMPSON INVENTOR FIG. 3
BY 5i M ATTORNEY RURAL MAIL BOX BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Mail boxes of the type including a flat base, side walls extending upwardly therefrom with a curved, upper surface, and walls at each end, one of which is pivotally attached along the lower edge to the base to provide access to a single inner compartment, have become conventional for use as rural mail boxes. Such mail boxes are customarily mounted on stands at a point where the owner's property abuts the roadway. To expedite the delivery of mail and to aid the mail carrier in making his appointed rounds on schedule, the mail boxes are positioned adjacent the pavement at a prescribed height from the ground that will enable the carrier to make his pick-up and deliveries without dismounting his vehicle and with a minimum of deflection from the lane of travel. The pivotal door must, therefore, provide access toward the lane of travel, thereby requiring the user to walk around to the road side of the mail box to gain access thereto, placing himself in a dangerous position.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention eliminates the dangerous situation described above by providing a second access opening and closure member therefor at the rear end of the compartment opposite the roadway, so that the recipient can remove the mail without stepping into the roadway. Additionally, the rear door is adapted to be opened in response to the application of a force transverse to the longitudinal axis of the housing, so that as the mail carrier deposits mail into the compartment, a force against the rear door will not cause an inadvertent opening thereof.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a secondary access for a conventional rural mail box in the end opposite the adjacent roadway.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a rear access for a rural mail box including a closure member therefor that is opened in response to a force directed transverse to the longitudinal axis of the housing.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear in the following description, which considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, sets forth the preferred embodiment of the invention.
Referring to the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the rural mail box according to the present invention, looking from the rear end;
FIG. 2 is an exploded end view showing the rear closure removed from the housing;
FIG. 3 is an exploded sectional view taken substantially along lines 3-3 in FIG. 2 and showing the rear closure member removed from its mating rear plate; and
FIG. 4 is an environmental view showing the rear end of a mail box according to the present invention, illustrating the manner in which a user removes mail from the secondary access opening.
Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a mail box of the type including a housing 10, comprising a flat, rectangular base 12 having a pair of side walls 14 secured to opposite edges thereof and extending upwardly therefrom. A curved arcuate roof 116 is formed integrally with and joins the upper ends of side walls 14 to form an enclosed, single compartment. Such a housing may be made in two parts, the flat base 12 and the tunnel-like covering which may be formed of a single sheet of metal bent in an inverted U-shaped configuration having a longitudinal axis extending through the housing from end to end.
A front closure member or door 18 encloses the front end, or the end adjacent the highway in a conventional manner, such as by pivotally attaching the door 18 along its lower edge to the front edge of base plate 12 by a pivot pin 20. A spring latch 22 releasably con nects the upper end of the front closure member 18 to housing 10 to prevent inadvertent opening of the front end.
The structure hereinabove described is conventional and forms no part of the present invention.
In contradistinction to conventional, single compartment mail boxes which include a fixed rear wall, the rear closure member or rear wall 24 of the present invention is slidably attached to the sides 14 of housing 10 at the rear edges thereof for selectively providing access to the rear end of the mail box. As is illustrated in FIG. ll, it is necessary to apply a force transverse to the longitudinal axis of housing 10 in order to open rear closure member 24. Such a configuration prevents inadvertent opening of the rear closure when subjected to a force against the inner surface of the rear wall longitudinally of the housing 10. For example, where a previous day's mail has accumulated or where the carrier has to deposit two or more handfulls of mail, it is possible that the letters and parcels in the second handful may be brought to bear against the letters and parcels already deposited, bringing pressure against rear closure member 24.
A guide means for slidably attaching rear closure member 24 to housing 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 and includes edge members at the rear end of housing 10 cooperating with associated members on the rear closure member 24 for slidable reception thereof. The guide means includes on the housing outturned flanges 26 along the rear edges of side walls 14 and a central aligning means in the form of a fixed plate 28 covering the upper portion of the rear opening in housing 10, having guide rail 30 secured thereto parallel to flanges 26. Guide rail 30 includes a pair of elongated outwardly diverging side walls 32, 34 joined by a web 35 and a pair of flanges 36 depending from the lower edges of side walls 32 through which fastening members 37 are inserted for attaching the guide rail to plate 28.
The guide means on rear closure member 24 includes a pair of inturned flanges 38 complimentary to and adapted for sliding engagement with outturned flanges 26. A central rib 40 extends outwardly from the face of closure member .24 and includes a pair of diverging walls 42 complimentary to and adapted to mate with diverging walls 32, 34 of guide 30. The mating arrangement of guide 30 and rib 40 provides support in the central portion of closure member 24 to insure and enhance proper slidable movement thereof.
A lifting tab 44 is secured to the lower end of rib 40 to enable the user to more easily lift closure member 24. A flange 46 is turned downwardly from the upper end of closure member 24 to provide a stop for properly aligning the rear closure member with the rear opening in the closed position as well as protecting the interior of the mail box from the ambient conditions.
Although a specific preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described hereinabove, it should be understood that various changes may be made in the details of the construction without department from the spirit of the invention. For example, various other arrangements are possible wherein the rear closure member is opened in response to a force transverse to the longitudinal axis of the housing, and the present embodiment set forth is for purposes of illustration only, the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. The improvement in conventional roadside mail boxes of the type including an elongate hollow housing mounted on a stand with a front end thereof facing an adjacent roadway, having a longitudinal axis therethrough, and a front closure member pivotally attached to said front end of the housing, said improvement comprising a rear closure member at the rear end of said housing and guide means for slidably attaching said rear closure member to the rear end of said housing, said rear closure member in a normal closed position covering the open rear end of said housing and being movable in an upward direction to an open position permitting access to said housing in response to an upward force applied in a direction transverse to said longitudinal axis, said guide means including cooperating edge members on the sides of the rear end of said housing and on the corresponding sides of said rear closure member, said edge members extending substantially throughout the entire vertical dimension of the side walls of said housing, and a central aligning means depending from the top wall of said housing at the rear end thereof downwardly toward said base only throughout the upper portion of the distance between the top wall and the base and engaging said rear closure member, whereby the rear closure member remains in alignment as it is raised to provide access to the interior of the housing through the lower portion of the rear end thereof.
2. The improvement according to claim 1, wherein said cooperating edge members comprise mating flanges along the corresponding edges of said rear closure member and the rear end of said housing, and said central aligning means comprises a fixed mounting plate covering the upper portion of the rear end of said housing and including a guide rail extending rearwardly and outwardly from the surface thereof, and a rib on said closure member mating with and slidably received on said guide rail.