Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3815811 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 11, 1974
Filing dateJan 16, 1973
Priority dateJan 16, 1973
Publication numberUS 3815811 A, US 3815811A, US-A-3815811, US3815811 A, US3815811A
InventorsHarmon F
Original AssigneeHarmon F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sentinel mail signal
US 3815811 A
A signal device secured to a rural mail box so to notify a rural resident whether a mailman has stopped at the mailbox, thus eliminating the resident walking to the mailbox before the mailman arrives, the device consisting of a downwardly pivotable flag that is attached to a hook insertable between the mailbox and the mailbox front door so that when the door is opened, the hook slips out so that the flag is downwardly pulled by gravity into a position where it can be clearly seen from the house.
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Harmon 1 June 11, 1974 SENTINEL MAIL SIGNAL [76] Inventor: F. L. Harmon, 1612 Lincolnton Rd.,

Salisbury, NC. 28144 [22] Filed: Jan. 16, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 324,211

[52] US. Cl. 232/35 [51] Int. Cl A47g 29/12 [58] Field of Search 232/35, 34, 17

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS v 1,471,364 10/1923 Schrock 232/35 2,483,992 10/1949 Young 232/35 2,567,459 9/1951 Yoder 232/35 2,673,682 3/1954 Harrison 232/35 2,988,268 6/1961 Mioduski 232/35 3,013,715 12/1961 Fereuici 232/35 3,143,287 8/1964 Holt 232/35 3,547,070 12/1970 Schuh 232/35 3,650,464 3/1972 Lewis 2.32/35 Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel [5 7] ABSTRACT 1 Claim, 4 Drawing Figures SENTINEL MAIL SIGNAL This invention relates generally to rural mailboxes. More specifically it relates to rural mailbox signal devices.

It is generally well known that in many rural areas, the house is located a relatively long distance away from a rural mailbox. It is also well known that rural mail delivery consists of a mailman delivering mail of rural residents within a mailbox located alongside the road so that a rural resident is obliged to walk from his house to the road for picking up his mail. Such walk from the house can be particularly objectionable in times of inclement weather such as when it is raining, orwhen the snow is deep. Accordingly, rural residents are reluctant to trudge out to the mailbox and find the chore unprofitable particularly when they find that the mailman has left no mail for them. This situation is of course objectionable and in want of an improvement.

Accordingly it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a sentinel mail signal which will indicate to a resident in his home whether or not a mailman has come to his mailbox.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sentinel mail signal which comprises an accessory that is readily attachable to any rural mailbox without the necessity of purchasing an entirely new mailbox.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a sentinel mail signal which is quick and easy to set and which does not in any way interfere with the normal operation of a rural mailbox.

Other objects of the present invention are to provide a sentinel mail signal which is simple in design, inexpensive to manufacture, rugged in construction, easy to use and efficient in operation.

These and other objects will become readily evident upon a study of the following specification together with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. I is a front perspective view of a mailbox showing the present invention mounted thereto and shown in a set position;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view thereof and showing the sentinel mail signal in an indicating position for notifying a rural resident that a mailman has stopped at the box;

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the present invention shown per se;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation view thereof.

. Referring now to the drawing in detail, the reference numeral represents a sentinel mail signal, according to the present invention, wherein the same comprises an assembly 11 that is attachable to a conventional rural mailbox 12.

The assembly 11 consists of a flag member 12 made preferably of sheet metal, a hook member 13 formed likewise of sheet metal, and a mounting assembly 14.

The flag member 12 isbent into an angle shape so as to include a relatively'wider side 15 and a relatively narrower side 16 which are at right angles to each other. The opposite surfaces of the side 15 can be brightly painted so as to serve as a flag that can be seen from a residence which may be some distance away. The side 16 has a singular opening 17 therethrough and through which the mounting assembly 14 is fitted.

The mounting assembly 14 includes a collar 18 on each side of the opening 17, the collars being soldered to the flag member side 16, as shown in FIG. 4. A bolt 19 is inserted through an opening drilled in a side wall 20 of the mailbox 12, the bolt being passed through the collars 18, the opening 17 and then being fitted through a washer 21, a lock washer 22 and then being secured by means of a nut 23.

The hook member 13 is of angle shape and includes a protruding hook 24 at its one end. The hook member 13 is secured to the side 16 of the flag member by means of a pair of rivets 25.

As shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, the sentinel mail signal is secured to the mailbox spaced a perscribed distance away from the mailbox door 26 so that the hook 24 can be slipped between a side flange 27 of door 26 and the side 20 of the mailbox 12. The mounting position of assembly 11 is such that when it is pivoted about the bolt 19 that the hook 24 will swing pass and clear the pivot pin 28 of the mailbox door 26. The material of the hook member is preferably relatively thin so that it will easily slip into the space between the flange 27 and the mailbox. In order to insure that the flag will be frictionally retained in the set position, the hook may be arcuately bent so that it will readily engage both surfaces of the mailbox and the door flange regardless whether the space is narrow or wide.

In setting up the device, the resident simply sets the flag member in a horizontal position as shown in FIG. 1, and the hook 24 is inserted between the flange 27 and side 20 of the rural mailbox. After a mailman has stopped at the mailbox, he pulls the door 26 down, thus causing the flange to free the hook 24 and then gravity causes the flag to pivot downwardly into the position as shown in FIG. 2. In this position, the flagsurfaces can be readily seen from a house so that a resident will know that the mailman has arrived at the box.

What I now claim is:

1. In a Sentinel Mail Signal, the combination of a rural mail box, and a signal assembly secured pivotally to one side of said mail box, said signal unit being automatically operated when a door of said mail box is opened, so that said signal assembly is in a position to notify a resident that mail has been delivered at his mail box, said signal assembly comprising a flag member, a hook member and a mounting assembly, said flag assembly comprising an angle shaped sheet metal member having an opening through one side thereof for receiving said mounting assembly, said hook member being an L-shaped member that includes a hook at one end of one side thereof, and being secured by means of rivets to said side of said flag member having said opening, said mounting assembly including a collar secured on each opposite sides of said opening of said flag member, a bolt being passed through said collars after being inserted through an opening in a side of said mail box, the opposite end of said bolt receiving a plain washer, a lock washer and a nut, the other side of said flag and the other side of said hook member extending in opposite directions and on a same flat plane whereby said other side of said hook member is aligned to abut against an underside of said mail box, and said hook member being of relatively thin material so that said hook fits into a crevice space formed between a side of said mail box and a side flange of said mail box door. =l=

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1471364 *Mar 24, 1922Oct 23, 1923Roy SchrockLetter box
US2483992 *Jun 24, 1948Oct 4, 1949Young Raymond CSignal attachment for rural mailboxes
US2567459 *May 16, 1949Sep 11, 1951Yoder Moses JOperator for flag signal
US2673682 *Dec 6, 1949Mar 30, 1954Gale HarrisonMail box
US2988268 *Jul 17, 1959Jun 13, 1961Mioduski Chester AMail box indicator flag
US3013715 *Jun 10, 1960Dec 19, 1961Lester FerenciMailbox signal
US3143287 *Sep 21, 1962Aug 4, 1964Holt Mitchell OMailbox signal device
US3547070 *Jul 11, 1968Dec 15, 1970Schuh Signals IncMailbox signal
US3650464 *Mar 30, 1970Mar 21, 1972Lewis John WilliamDoor operated signal for mailboxes
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4205778 *Jan 18, 1978Jun 3, 1980File Robert HMail delivery signal with flat signal plates
US4738392 *Apr 2, 1987Apr 19, 1988Kovacs Elmer AMailbox with signal flags
US4782997 *Oct 13, 1987Nov 8, 1988Cotton Jr Thomas JMail delivery signal device
US4836441 *Mar 15, 1988Jun 6, 1989Crider Curtis WMailbox delivery indicator
US4953783 *Dec 20, 1988Sep 4, 1990Chambers John DMailbox signal device
US4978057 *Mar 19, 1990Dec 18, 1990Roden Walter CMailbox signal
US5119986 *Aug 9, 1991Jun 9, 1992Rubbermaid IncorporatedMailbox assembly
US5660327 *May 23, 1995Aug 26, 1997Brinkley, Jr.; Amiel W.Mailbox delivered mail signal
US6318629 *Apr 17, 2000Nov 20, 2001William B. AndersonSignal device for mailbox
US7025250 *Aug 25, 2004Apr 11, 2006Wolfe Jr Charles WilliamAutomatic gravity-actuated mailbox indicator
US7552858 *Aug 11, 2008Jun 30, 2009Owens Tony FMailbox flag apparatus
US20060043162 *Aug 25, 2004Mar 2, 2006Wolfe Charles W JrAutomatic gravity-actuated mailbox indicator
U.S. Classification232/35, D99/29
International ClassificationA47G29/00, A47G29/122
Cooperative ClassificationA47G29/121
European ClassificationA47G29/12R2