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Publication numberUS3749302 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 31, 1973
Filing dateFeb 21, 1972
Priority dateFeb 21, 1972
Publication numberUS 3749302 A, US 3749302A, US-A-3749302, US3749302 A, US3749302A
InventorsWhite J
Original AssigneeWhite J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mailbox construction
US 3749302 A
Abstract
A mailbox construction that includes interiorly located baffles for directing articles of mail deposited in a mail slot to the interior of the mailbox, the forward and bottom walls being shaped and constructed to cause the deposited mail to be inclined forwardly and cooperating with the baffles to prevent unauthorized access to the mail articles as located within the interior of the mailbox.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 White 1 July 31, 1973 1 MAILBOX CONSTRUCTION [76] Inventor: John W. White, 9 Fairhaven Rd.,

Mattapoisett, Mass. 02739 [221 Filed: Feb.2l, 1972 211 Appl. No.: 219,811

2,267,156 12/1941 Johnson 232/19 X 3,325,091 6/1967 2,418,010 3/1947 Bruelheide 232/17 1,052,159 2/1913 Martzloff et a1. 232/45 Primary Examiner-James T. McCall Assistant Examiner-Peter A. Aschenbrenner Attorney-Elliot A. Salter and Leonard Michaelson 5 7] ABSTRACT A mailbox construction that includes interiorly located baffles for directing articles of mail deposited in a mail slot to the interior of the mailbox, the forward and bottom walls being shaped and constructed to cause the deposited mail to be inclined forwardly and cooperating with the baffles to prevent unauthorized access to the mail articles as located within the interior of the mailbox.

5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENIED JUL 3 1 I975 SHEET 2 OF 2 MAILBOX CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a mailbox construction for residential use that may be easily mounted on a vertical wall or panel either at the residence or at a location removed therefrom.

Mailboxes normally used for residential purposes have been constructed with a slot at the top through which articles of mail were inserted for deposit into the interior of the mailbox. Even if the mailbox were locked by the owner thereof, it was possible heretofore to remove the mail articles through the top slot by inserting some form of a wire grasping device or the like, or by simply reaching through the slot and grasping the articles and withdrawing them from the mailbox.

Prior to the instant invention some attempts have been made to devise a mailbox for preventing the unauthorized removal of mail through the mail slot thereof. However, in many of these prior known constructions the mail articles were not completely concealed within the mailbox; and as a result, these mailboxes were not effective in preventing the unauthorized removal of the mail therefrom. Those mailboxes that were effective in providing an anti-theft construction were fairly complicated in structure, and as a result were prohibitive in cost.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a mailbox construction that includes a main housing on which. a cover member is pivotally mounted. The cover member includes a top wall in which a slot is formed, and located beneath the top wall and adjacent to the slot is a baffle member that cooperates with additional directing elements that are mounted in the main housing to define a restricted passage through which articles of mail pass upon being inserted through the slot. The baffle member and directing elementsas located in the main housing and cover member also prevent unauthorized withdrawal of the articles through the mail slot, since they tend to obstruct removal of the articles through the slot. The main housing and cover member are also constructed such that the front wall thereof is inclined to the vertical, wherein articles of mail deposited in the main'housing are inclined or fall forwardly against the front wall, thereby'further preventing possible theft or unauthorized withdrawal of the mail articles from the mailbox.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a mailbox construction that provides for easy insertion of articles of mail therein but that prevents unauthorized removal of the mail articles from the mailbox.

Another object is to provide a mailbox having antitheft protectionas defined by interior baffling and inclination of the front wall of the mailbox, wherein articles of mail deposited in the mailbox are located in such a way that prevents the easy withdrawal therefrom, the baffling further insuring that the articles cannot be extracted from the mailbox through the slot in the top wall thereof.

Other objects, features and advantages of the invention shall become apparent as the description thereof proceeds when considered in connection with the aceompanying illustrative drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. I is a front elevational view of the mailbox construction embodied in the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view, with parts shown in section, of the mailbox construction;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 33 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3, but showing the cover member in the open position thereof;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the mailbox construction;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 66 in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the mailbox construction.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION to a vertical wall or panel at the residence or at a point removed therefrom. It is also understood that the mailbox construction of the present invention may be used at locations other than residences, particularly in rural areas.

The mailbox construction 10 comprises a main housing generally indicated at 12, on which a cover member generally indicated at 14 is pivotally mounted. The main housing 12 is defined by a rear wall 16 to which are joined side walls 18. A foreshortened front wall 20 is joined to the side walls 18 and is rounded at the bottom thereof to form a bottom wall 22 that is joined to the rear wall 16. The side walls 18 have a generally triangular configuration in elevation and project rearwardly of the rear wall 16 to define a recess therebetween. As will be described, the triangular configuration of the side walls 18 provides for locating of the front wall 20 in an inclined position with respect to the vertical, and this conformation of the front wall is particularly useful in locating articles of mail within the main housing in such a way as to prevent unauthorized removal therefrom.

Joined to the rear wall 16 on the interior surface thereof and adjacent to the upper end is a downwardly projecting directing element 24. A similar downwardly projecting directing element 26 is also secured to the rear wall 16 of the main housing and is spaced below the baffle element 24. As will be described, the directing elements 24 and 26 cooperate to prevent unauthorized withdrawal of articles of mail from the interior of the main housing 12.

As more clearly illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the bottom wall 22 which is a continuation of the foreshortened front wall 20 is joined to the rear wall 16 and is inclined downwardly from front to rear. This configuration of the bottom wall 22 insures that articles of mail that have been deposited within the main housing 12 will fall forwardly against the front wall 20, since the bottom edges of the articles must slide toward the rear wall 16 due to the curvature of the bottom wall 22.

The cover member 14 is defined by side walls 28 to which are joined a front wall 30, the side walls depending below the front wall 30 and providing for engagement of a hasp 32 on a lock element 34, the hasp being secured to the front wall 30 ahd having a slot for accommodating the lock element 34 that is fixed to the front wall 20 of the housing 12. It is understood that any convenient lock can be inserted through the lock element 34 for securing the cover member 14 in the locked position on the main housing 12.

In order to connect the cover member 14 to the main housing 12 in pivotal relation, the side walls 28 of the cover member overlap the side walls 18 of the main housing and are pivotally connected thereto adjacent to the rear thereof by bolts 36. Interior lock nuts 37 are mounted on the bolts 36 and secure them in place. As shown in FIG. 4, the cover member 14 is pivotally movable on the side walls 18 of the main housing 12 to expose the interior of the main housing for removal of mail articles therefrom or for deposit of articles therein, as desired.

Joined to the front wall 30 of the cover member 14 and inclined upwardly with respect thereto is a top wall 38, the uppermost end of which engages the rear wall 16 of the main housing when the cover member is in the closed position thereof. Formed in the inclined top wall 38 of the cover member 14 is a laterally extending slot 40 that defines an entry slot for articles of mail that are inserted into the main housing 12. One of the features of the present invention is to prevent the unauthorized removal of the articles of mail from the mailbox construction. For this purpose, a substantially triangularly shaped baffle member 42, as seen in cross section, is secured to the underside of the top wall 38 and is disposed in adjacent relation to the entry slot 40. The baffle member 42 projects inwardly of the main housing 12 so that is is located in spaced relation with respect to the downwardly projecting directing element 24 that is mounted on the rear wall 16 of the main housing. The space between the baffle member 42 and the element 24 defines a restricted passage that is also tortuous or nonlinear with respect to the entry slot 40, so that when the articles of mail are inserted through the entry slot, the direction of descent thereof is changed as they pass through the restricted passage. It is seen that this is particularly important in the preventing of unauthorized removal of the articles by way of the entry slot 40, since the articles must be lifted through the restricted passage and then turned or twisted for removal through the entry slot. The tortuous passage as defined by the baffle member 42 and element 24 tends to prevent such removal, and the articles of mail will strike the baffle member 42 or the element 24 if they are lifted upwardly in the direction of the entry slot 40. It is also seen that the lower element 26 cooperates with the upper element 24 to prevent the mail articles from aligning with the slot 42 and thereby acts to prevent unauthorized removal of the articles of mail from the mailbox construction.

Since the entry slot 40 would normally be exposed to weather if the mailbox construction were located outside of a residence or dwelling, a cover plate 44 is pro vided for shielding the entry slot and thereby prevents accumulation of water and other debris within the main housing 12. The cover plate is pivotally secured to the cover member 14, and for this purpose the side walls 28 of the cover member have upwardly extending lugs 46 joined thereto that are located in horizontal alignment with corresponding lugs 48 that are secured to the upper surface of the cover plate 44. Pins 50 extend through the lugs 46 and 48 for pivotally locating the cover plate 44 over the top wall 38 of the cover member. An upper wall 52 is secured over the recess as defined by the rear extension of the side walls 18 and 28 of the main housing 12 and cover member 14, respectively; and it is understood that the cover plate 44 is pivotally moved with respect to the upper wall 52 that is fixed in position.

if for any reason the mail articles as deposited through the entry slot 40 become lodged in the restricted passage between the baffle member 42 and the baffle 24, a preventer element 54 that is joined to the underside of the pivoted cover plate 44 is provided and extends through the entry slot 40 and interiorly of the main housing 12 and cover member 14 when the cover member 14 is located in the closed position thereof. Thus, the preventer element 54 would normally contact the lodged articles and would tend to urge them downwardly through the restricted passage and into the interior of the main housing.

The mailbox construction 10 is normally mounted on a vertical wall or panel, and for this purpose, side brackets 56 are provided. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the brackets 56 have an L configuration, the outwardly extending portion thereof having an opening 58 formed therein through which a screw or the like is inserted for fastening the box construction on a vertical surface. In addition to the brackets 56, or, in the alternative, interior fastening screws 60 may be inserted through the rear wall 16 of the main housing 12 and into the surface on which the mailbox is mounted. It is understood that the length of the fastening screws 60 must be sufficient to bridge the space between the rear wall 16 and the rear edges of the side walls 18 of the cover member when the cover member is located in the closed position thereof.

In use of the device, the mailbox construction is normally located on a vertical surface; and because of the inclination of the front wall 20 and the bottom wall 22, articles of mail indicated at 62 in FIG. 4 normally fall against the front wall 20 after they have been deposited through the entry slot 40. In this connection the curved bottom wall 22 causes the lower edges of the mail articles 62 to move against the lower edge of the rear wall 16, thereby locating the articles 62 in the inclined position against the front wall 20 as illustrated in FIG. 4. As the articles of mail 62 are deposited through the entry slot, and this is accomplished upon lifting of the cover plate 44, they pass through the restricted passage between the baffle member 42 and directing element 24. After the articles are deposited, the cover plate 44 is returned to the closed position thereof, the preventer element 54 entering the entry slot 44 and engaging any of the articles that have become lodged in the restricted passage, thereby forcing the lodged articles toward the bottom of the main housing 12. If for any reason, an attempt is made to withdraw any of the articles of mail from the mailbox, and assuming that the cover member 14 has been locked to the main housing 12, the unauthorized removal of the articles through the entry slot 40 would be prevented since the baffle member 42 and the elements 24 and 26 restrict the exit passage. Thus it is seen that any articles that are lifted upwardly from the main housing 12 for withdrawal through the entry slot 40 would contact either the elements 24 and 26 or the baffle member 42. Further, the articles would have to be twisted through the tortuous passage between the baffle member 42 and element 24 to gain access to the entry slot 40, and'such movement of the articles in this manner would be unlikely.

While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangement of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A mailbox construction comprising a main housing defined by a rear wall, a front wall, side walls and a bottom wall, a cover member pivotally mounted on said main housing and including a top wall having an entry slot formed therein through which artciles of mail are inserted, said slot having communication with the interior of said main housing, the front wall of said main housing being inclined forwardly with respect to the vertical when the main housing is mounted on a vertical surface, said bottom wall having a curved configuration that defines a downwardly extending slope from the front to the rear wall of said main housing, wherein the articles of mail deposited in said slot are deflected upon striking said bottom wall into engagement with the front wall for location in a forwardly inclined position, a first baffle member secured to the underside of said top wall adjacent to said slot and including a rearwardly facing surface located beneath said slot and that is inclined from front to rear, thereby forming a surface for deflecting the mail articles deposited through said slot toward the interior of said main housing, a directing element secured to said rear wall adjacent to said first baffle member and being located in alignment with the rearwardly facing surface thereof, the directing element extending outwardly of said rear wall and being spaced from said first baffle member to define a restricted passage therewith through which the mail articles descend after passing through said slot and after being directed into contact with said first baffle memher, said first baffle member and directing element forming security elements that cooperate to prevent unauthorized removal of the mail articles from the interior of said main housing through said restricted passage and slot, a cover plate pivotally mounted on the top wall of said cover member and normally covering the slot in the top wall, and a depending finger secured to the underside of said cover plate and extending into said slot when the cover plate is located in the closed position thereof, wherein the depending finger is engageable with the mail articles that have failed to clear the restricted passage and urges the articles toward the bottom of said main housing.

2. A mailbox construction as set forth in claim 1, said front wall being foreshortened with respect to said side walls and rear wall, and said cover member further including a front wall that cooperates with the foreshortened front wall of said main housing to define a coplanar front wall when the cover member is in the closed position thereof.

3. A mailbox construction as set forth in claim 2, said cover member further including side walls that overlap the side walls of the main housing in the closed position thereof.

4. A mailbox construction as set forth in claim 1, the dimension of the main housing side walls at the upper end thereof and extending from front to rear being greater than that at the lower end thereof, wherein the side walls are formed in a reducing tapered configuration from top to bottom so that the main housing and front wall thereof are inclined with respect to the vertical when the main housing is mounted on a vertical surface.

5. A mailbox construction as set forth in claim 1, an additional directing element being secured to said rear wall below the first directing element and extending into the interior of said main housing, said additional directing element cooperating with said first directing element and baffle member to form obstructions to prevent the unauthorized removal of mail articles through said slot.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4516719 *Aug 18, 1983May 14, 1985Ball Randell DWell site document container
US4602738 *Apr 29, 1985Jul 29, 1986Ball Randell DWell site document container
US4630769 *May 8, 1985Dec 23, 1986Ball Randell DDocument storage container
US5597116 *Nov 16, 1994Jan 28, 1997Morris; GlennTop opening locking mailbox
US8534623 *Aug 8, 2011Sep 17, 2013Crow-Erickson, Inc.Container and universal bracket system
US20080194177 *Apr 21, 2008Aug 14, 2008Blanish Mathew RMailbox Game
US20110290963 *Aug 8, 2011Dec 1, 2011Crow-Erickson, Inc.Container and Universal Bracket System
Classifications
U.S. Classification232/19, 232/17, 232/45
International ClassificationA47G29/12, A47G29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/12
European ClassificationA47G29/12