BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a mail receptacle and, more particularly, to such a receptacle that is tamper-proof, theftproof and adapted for use for curbside or rural delivery and home delivery.
For many years, certain types of mail receptacles have been utilized for rural or curbside delivery, as well as home delivery. While these receptacles have generally served the purpose, they have been subject to one or more of the following disadvantages:
1. they have not been theft-proof or tamper-proof;
2. they have not been of sufficient size to accomodate various types of mail;
3. for rural or curbside delivery, their doors have opened outwardly and have extended a substantial distance from the housing, with the result that mail delivery vehicles have difficulty in approaching close enough to the mail receptacle for the delivery or pickup of mail;
4. they are difficult to install adequately on posts or other supports;
5. their doors have been poorly designed so as to be difficult to open and close, or to inadequately prevent moisture from entering the mail receptacle;
6. they have been complicated in construction and thus costly to manufacture; and
7. they have not been sufficiently durable and thus have not been usable for long periods of time.
A need has arisen, therefore, for an improved mail receptacle for rural or curbside delivery and home delivery, which is an improvement over the existing mail receptacles and is not subject to any of the above disadvantages. The mail receptacle of the present invention is not subject to any of the above disadvantages and possesses many advantages not possessed by the mail receptacles theretofore known or used.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The mail receptacle of the present invention comprises a housing having forwardly and upwardly inclined, elongated, sustantially parallel front and rear walls, with the rear wall merging upwardly with a curved upper wall extending forwardly of and over the upper portion of the front wall. The center of rotation of curved upper wall is approximately at the upper end of the front wall. Upwardly extending, substantially parallel side walls connect the front and rear walls, and each comprises an upper sector-shaped portion which extends from the upper portion of the front wall to the curved upper wall to define an opening in the front upper portion of the housing.
A door or baffle member is pivotally connected to the upper portion of the front wall by any suitable type of hinge means and is provided with front and rear panels having a shape and size that are substantially the same as those of the front opening in the housing. The front and rear panels of the door member are connected by sector-shaped side panels that are adapted to fit closely within the curved upper wall of the housing.
The door member is pivotally movable relative to the housing between an open position wherein its front panel extends outwardly and slightly forwardly of the housing and its rear panel serves to close the opening in the housing, and a closed position wherein its front and rear panels are disposed within the housing and the front panel serves to close the opening in the housing. The front panel is provided with a handle member that facilitates the movement of the door member from the closed to the open position and also engages the front wall of the housing to limit the opening movement of the door member.
One of the side walls of the housing is provided with an opening at its lower portion having a movable closure member that may be locked in any suitable manner. When the closure member is opened, mail may be conveniently removed from the housing through the opening in the side wall. At other times, the locked closure member serves to prevent the removal of mail from the housing.
The lower portion of the front wall of the housing may be provided with an upwardly facing receptacle portion or pocket for holding outgoing mail to be picked up by the mail carrier.
One or more substantially L-shaped brackets may be used to support the mail receptacle on a support means, such as a post or a wall. Each L-shaped bracket comprises a lower leg adapted to be secured to the bottom wall of the housing and an upper leg adapted to be secured to the support member. Since the rear wall of the housing is inclined forwardly and upwardly, it defines a wedge-shaped opening with the upper leg of the support bracket, thereby providing an area in which larger packages, such as records, magazines and the like may be received and supported.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mail receptacle constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged front view of the mail receptacle shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view, taken substantially along lines 3--3 in FIG. 2, with the door member shown in a closed position; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3, showing the door member in an open position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4, the mail receptacle 10 of the present invention comprises a housing 12 and a door member 14 movably mounted on the housing. The housing 12 may be mounted on a suitable support S, such as a post or the like, by one or more L-shaped brackets 16 (see FIGS. 3 and 4).
The housing 12 comprises upwardly and forwardly inclined, elongated, substantially parallel front and rear walls 18 and 20, respectively. As an illustrative example, the front and rear walls 18 and 20 may be inclined at an angle of approximately 10° to a vertical plane. The front wall 18 and rear wall 20 are connected by a bottom wall 22 and upwardly extending, substantially parallel side walls 24. The rear wall 20 merges at its upper end with a curved upper wall 26 having its center of rotation approximately at the upper end of the front wall and extending above and forwardly of the upper end of the front wall 18, and each of the side walls 24 has an upper sector-shaped portion merging with the curved upper wall 26 to define a front opening 28 in the upper portion of the housing 12. Each side wall 24 terminates upwardly in an oblique end surface extending from the upper end of the front wall to the outer end of the upper wall.
The door or baffle member 14 is pivotally connected to the housing 12, e.g., at the upper portion of the front wall 18, by any suitable hinge means 30, such as a piano hinge or the like. The door member 14 comprises a front panel 32 and a rear panel 34, both extending substantially radially outwardly from the hinge point 30 and being separated by any suitable angle, e.g., approximately 165° as an illustrative example. The front and rear panels 32 and 34 are connected by substantially parallel, sector-shaped side panels 36.
As seen in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the front panel 32 and rear panel 34 of the door member 14 extend substantially radially outwardly to a point closely adjacent to the inner surface of the curved upper wall 26, and the side panels 36 of the door member 14 are positioned closely adjacent to the side walls 24 of the housing 12, with the result that the door member 14 substantially completely fills the front opening 28 in the upper portion of the housing.
The door member 14 is provided with a handle member 38 of any suitable construction secured to the front panel 32 thereof in any suitable manner and in any desired position. Preferably, the handle member 38 comprises a convex upper surface 40 and an upwardly and outwardly inclined front surface 42. The door member 14 is pivotally movable about the hinge 30 between the closed position shown in FIG. 3 and the open position shown in FIG. 4. In the closed position, the rear panel 34 of the door member 14 engages the adjacent inner surface of the front wall 18 of the housing 12, and the front panel 32 of the door member 14 is positioned inwardly of the upper portion of the housing and serves to close the front opening 28 therein.
In the open position of the door member 14 shown in FIG. 4, the front surface 40 of the handle member 38 engages the outer surface of the front wall 18 of the housing 12 to limit the opening movement of the door member 14, and the front panel 32 of the door member 14 is disposed outwardly of the housing 12 for the depositing of mail thereon. In order to retain mail on the front panel 32, the door member 14 is provided with a front flange 44 extending upwardly from the outer portion of the front panel 32 between the side panels 36. When in the open position, the rear panel 34 of the door member 14 serves to close the opening 28 in the housing 12 to prevent access to the housing, thereby preventing tampering with or theft of mail from the housing 12 even when the door member 14 is in the open position.
At the bottom of one of the side walls 24, an opening is provided for the removal of mail deposited in the housing 12. This opening is adapted to be closed by a closure member 46 that is pivotally or otherwise movably mounted on the housing 12 in any suitable manner, such as by a hinge 48 (see FIG. 2). The closure member 46 may be provided with any suitable type of locking means, such as a padlock 50 secured to the housing 12 by a chain 52. The size of the opening in the side wall 24 of the housing 12, and the size of the closure member 46, are determined by the size of the opening 28 in the upper portion of the housing 12. In other words, the closure member 46 is of a size sufficient to enable mail of maximum size fitting within the opening 28 to be removed from the housing 12.
At the lower portion of the front wall 18 of the housing 12, an upwardly opening receptacle portion 54 is provided which extends laterally throughout a substantial portion of the width of the front wall 18. The receptacle portion 54 is for the purpose of receiving and retaining outgoing mail to be picked up by the mail carrier. For the purpose of alerting the mail carrier to the outgoing mail to be picked up in the receptacle portion 54, a conventional flag member 56 of any suitable construction may be movably mounted in any suitable manner on the housing 12.
The L-shaped supporting bracket 16 comprises a lower leg 58 that is secured to the bottom wall 22 of the housing in any suitable manner, and an upper leg 60 that is secured to the support member S in any suitable manner. Since the rear wall 20 of the housing 12 is inclined upwardly and forwardly away from the upper leg 60 of the supporting bracket 16, a wedge-shaped space W is defined therebetween. Items of mail that are relatively narrow and too long in one dimension to fit within the opening 28 in the housing 12 may be placed in the wedge-shaped space W and retained therein by wedging them between the rear wall 20 of the housing 12 and the upper arm 60 of the supporting bracket 16.
As will be apparent from the foregoing description, since the housing 12 is inclined upwardly and outwardly away from the supporting member S, a mail delivery or pick-up vehicle may be conveniently parked near the front portion of the housing without danger of hitting and damaging the support member. In addition, since the door member 14 extends only slightly outwardly beyond the housing 12 when in the open position, the mail delivery vehicle may be parked close to the housing 12 without affecting the opening or closing movement of the door member 14.
When the door member 14 is in the open position shown in FIG. 4, mail may be conveniently deposited on the front panel 32 of the door member 14 and will be retained thereon by the front flange 44 of the door member. In this position, the inner panel 34 of the door member prevents access to the inner portion of the housing 12. When the door member 14 is rotated in a clockwise direction from the open position shown in FIG. 4 to the closed position shown in FIG. 3, the mail deposited on the front panel 32 thereof will slide inwardly along the front panel 32 and rear panel 34 and fall downwardly into the lower portion of the housing 12. This mail may then be conveniently removed from the housing 12 by unlocking and opening the closure member 46 to expose the opening in the side wall 24 of the housing. Since the curved upper wall 26 of the housing 12 extends forwardly beyond the front wall 18 of the housing, and the door member 14 is recessed within the curved upper wall 26 when in the closed position, precipitation in the form of rain or snow is effectively prevented from entering the housing 12 of the receptacle portion 54.
The specific shape of the housing 12 and the door member 14, as disclosed herein for te purposes of a preferred embodiment, may be varied without departing from the principles of this invention. Also, the housing 12 and door member 14 may be formed of any suitable material.