Title:
Undeliverable mail organizer and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An undeliverable-mail organizer and method has a mail-organizer tray (1) with a plurality of mail slots (2) on a support (14, 16, 18) predeterminedly above a mail-delivery tray (3) for a mail-delivery vehicle. The plurality of mail slots is preferably equal to a standard plurality of classifications of undeliverable mail, which presently is five. Preferably also, the mail slots are color-coded and titled. The mail-organizer tray is preferably removable for being carried into a post office for handling its undeliverable mail without being re-sorted. The support can be extended tray sides (14) of the mail-organizer tray which rest on the mail-delivery tray, a strut (16) or universal-holder arm (18) extended from a floor (17), ceiling or wall of the mail-delivery vehicle or an extension of the mail-delivery tray. The undeliverable-mail organizer can include a base (15) with a removable tray of mail slots. The base can be movable and/or pivotal for adjustable access to the mail-delivery tray and to driver visibility laterally for driving. The mail slots can be predeterminedly linear or orthogonal to an axis of the delivery vehicle.



Inventors:
Smale, Junie J. (Ocala, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/748997
Publication Date:
06/27/2002
Filing Date:
12/27/2000
Assignee:
SMALE JUNIE J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B07C3/02; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070102377Loading hook for commercial goodsMay, 2007Kikuchi et al.
20090294391SHELF ASSEMBLY FOR CUSTOMIZABLE FURNITUREDecember, 2009Goldin et al.
20070272629Customizable organizerNovember, 2007Spirer
20060043036Cooler door shelf device with removable product panelMarch, 2006Robertson
20090120886MOBILE STORAGE SYSTEMS AND RACKS FOR WINEMay, 2009Weiss et al.
20090277853Product Dispenser AssemblyNovember, 2009Bauer
20050167375Peg board spring for merchandise displayAugust, 2005Pagano
20050150849Stand for bouquet arrangement and methods thereofJuly, 2005Campellone et al.
20080223802Supporting rack for screenSeptember, 2008Wu
20070119794Vibration damping unitMay, 2007Hidaka et al.
20090020491BBQ GrillJanuary, 2009Foster



Primary Examiner:
GIBSON, ROBERT W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edward M. Livingston, Esq. (Winter Park, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An undeliverable-mail organizer comprising: a mail-organizer tray with a predetermined plurality of mail slots on a support predeterminedly above a mail-delivery tray for a mail-delivery vehicle; the mail slots are identification-marked for predetermined classes of undeliverable mail; the mail slots are in positions of predetermined accessibility to a mail carrier from a predetermined position of accessibility to the mail-delivery tray by the mail carrier.

2. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the support includes oppositely disposed sides of the mail-organizer tray which are extended downwardly to a position of rest on the mail-delivery tray.

3. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the support includes a base having a support strut extended from a structural portion of the mail-delivery vehicle.

4. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 3 wherein: the mail-organizer tray is placed removably on the base.

5. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 3 wherein: the base is placed removably on the support strut.

6. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 3 wherein: the base is pivotal on the support strut.

7. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 3 wherein: the base is at a predetermined distance above and sidewards from the mail-delivery tray on the support strut.

8. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 3 wherein: the support includes a universal-holder arm intermediate the strut and the base.

9. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the support includes the universal-holder arm intermediate the mail-delivery vehicle and the base.

10. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the support includes the universal-holder arm intermediate the mail-delivery tray and the base.

11. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the mail slots are oriented linearly to an axis of the mail-delivery vehicle.

12. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the mail slots are oriented orthogonally to an axis of the mail-delivery vehicle.

13. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the mail slots are color-coded predeterminedly red for Central Forwarding System, yellow for Moved Not Forwardable, blue for Miscellaneous, green for Forwarding Order Expired, and black for Undeliverable in accordance with standard categories of the U.S. Postal Service.

14. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 13 wherein: the mail slots are abbreviation-marked CFS for Central Forwarding System, MNF for Moved Not Forwardable, MISC for Miscellaneous, FOE for Forwarding Order Expired, and UBBM for Undeliverable in accordance with standard categories of the U.S. Postal Service.

15. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 wherein: the mail slots are abbreviation-marked CFS for Central Forwarding System, MNF for Moved Not Forwardable, MISC for Miscellaneous, FOE for Forwarding Order Expired, and UBBM for Undeliverable in accordance with standard categories of the U.S. Postal Service.

16. The undeliverable-mail organizer of claim 1 and further comprising: an overflow undeliverable-mail tray placed in the mail-delivery vehicle.

17. A method for using an undeliverable-mail organizer which includes: a mail-organizer tray with a predetermined plurality of mail slots on a support predeterminedly above a mail-delivery tray for a mail-delivery vehicle; the mail slots are identification-marked for predetermined classes of undeliverable mail; the mail slots are in positions of predetermined accessibility to a mail carrier from a predetermined position of accessibility to the mail-delivery tray by the mail carrier; the method comprising the following steps: placing the mail-organizer tray above the mail-delivery tray in the mail-delivery vehicle at a start of a mail-delivery route; placing undeliverable pieces of mail in designated appropriate mail slots of the mail-organizer tray sequentially as the undeliverable pieces of mail are detected during mail delivery in the mail-delivery route; removing the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots at an appropriate portion of the mail-delivery route; taking the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots into an appropriate post office; removing the undeliverable mail from the mail slots of the mail-organizer tray; and placing the undeliverable mail in designated appropriate mail-handling facilities for handling the undeliverable mail in the post office.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the undeliverable-mail organizer includes a base from which the mail-organizer tray is moveable to a desired position by the mail carrier for personal ease of use by the mail carrier and vision from the mail-carrier vehicle by the mail carrier and comprising the additional step of: placing the mail-organizer tray in a desired position above the mail-delivery tray in the mail-delivery vehicle at the start of the mail-delivery route.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein the undeliverable-mail organizer includes an overflow undeliverable-mail tray and comprising the additional steps of: replacing the mail-organizer tray with the overflow undeliverable-mail tray as necessary; placing undeliverable pieces of mail in designated appropriate mail slots of the overflow mail-organizer tray sequentially as the undeliverable pieces of mail are detected while continuing the mail delivery in the mail-delivery route; removing the mail-organizer tray and the overflow mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots at an appropriate portion of the mail-delivery route; taking the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots into the appropriate post office; removing the undeliverable mail from the mail slots of the mail-organizer tray and from the slots of the overflow undeliverable-mail tray; and placing the undeliverable mail in designated appropriate mail-handling facilities for handling the undeliverable mail in the post office.

20. A method comprising the following steps for handling undeliverable mail by a mail carrier: providing an undeliverable-mail organizer having an mail-organizer tray with designated appropriate mail slots for receiving designated classifications of undeliverable mail; the mail-organizer tray being placeable removably in a mail-delivery vehicle at a position for access by the mail carrier to the mail-organizer tray and for access by the mail carrier to a delivery-mail tray in the mail-delivery vehicle; placing the mail-organizer tray in the position for access in the mail-delivery vehicle at a start of a mail-delivery route; placing undeliverable pieces of mail in the designated appropriate mail slots of the mail-organizer tray sequentially as the undeliverable pieces of mail are detected during mail delivery in the mail-delivery route; removing the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots at an appropriate portion of the mail-delivery route; taking the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots into an appropriate post office; removing the undeliverable mail from the mail slots of the mail-organizer tray; and placing the undeliverable mail in designated appropriate mail-handling facilities for handling the undeliverable mail in the post office.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to categorizing, organizing and handling mail that is undeliverable by a mail carrier with a mail-delivery vehicle.

[0002] There are numerous known mail organizers and methods but none that can be used in a mail-delivery vehicle by a mail carrier in a manner taught by this invention.

[0003] Currently, a major waste of postal-worker time and effort results from inefficient handling of undeliverable mail. Mail carriers spend undue time and concern handling undeliverable mail while on their delivery routes and again when they return to post offices after delivering deliverable mail. In addition, other postal workers and supervisory personnel in post offices may become involved and have to spend additional undue time and effort re-sorting and re-handling undeliverable mail. Accordingly, perhaps as much as ten percent of time and costs for delivering mail and three-to-five percent of total postal costs are wasted from bottom-line returns to the Postal Service or to the public for mail costs.

[0004] The only known examples of prior art for organizing and handling mail relate not to handling undeliverable mail in delivery vehicles, but to handling of deliverable mail generally in post offices and to a lesser extent in the delivery vehicles.

[0005] Examples of most-closely related known but yet incomparably different devices include U.S. Pat. No. 3,885,668 issued to McClain on May 27, 1975; U.S. Pat. No. 5,511,672 issued to Young, et al. on Apr. 30, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 4,484,685 issued to Williams on Nov. 27, 1984; U.S. Pat. No. 5,469,975 issued to Fajnsztajn on Nov. 28, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 3,760,943 issued to Reader on Sept. 25, 1973; U.S. Pat. No. 4,254,872 issued to Garrett on Mar. 10, 1981; U.S. Pat. No. 4,763,888 issued to Consoli on Aug. 16, 1988; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,582,336 issued to Kutnyak on Dec. 10, 1996.

[0006] Emphasis previously has been on carrying and placing the deliverable mail. Undeliverable mail is relegated to a bag, tub or place on a floor for subsequent handling that is additional to its being handled when sorted and determined to be undeliverable by a mail carrier for a standardized reason. Reexamining, categorizing and appropriately placing the undeliverable mail in relegated heaps requires more time and effort by other postal workers and by the same mail carrier subsequently than expended by the mail carrier originally. Except for handling of undeliverable mail, efficiency of delivery of mail by mail carriers with delivery vehicles is highly commendable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Objects of patentable novelty and utility taught by this invention are to provide an undeliverable-mail organizer and method which:

[0008] can be placed to be accessed quickly and easily by a mail carrier in a mail-delivery vehicle;

[0009] provides quick and easy sorting-placement of undeliverable mail by standardized category in the mail-delivery vehicle without obstructing access to a mail carrier's DPS letter tray or mail-delivery tray and without obstructing essential view through an opposite-side window and rear-view mirror of the mail-delivery vehicle;

[0010] eliminates double sorting, handling and placing of undeliverable mail by the mail carrier and by other postal workers;

[0011] decreases loss of undeliverable mail; and

[0012] decreases time for handling undeliverable mail.

[0013] This invention accomplishes these and other objectives with an undeliverable-mail organizer and method having a mail-organizer tray with a plurality of mail slots on a support predeterminedly above a mail-delivery tray for a mail-delivery vehicle. The plurality of mail slots is preferably equal to a standard plurality of classifications of undeliverable mail, which presently is five. Preferably also, the mail slots are color-coded and titled. The mail-organizer tray is preferably removable for being carried into a post office for handling its undeliverable mail without being re-sorted. The support can be extended sides of the mail-organizer tray which rest on the mail-delivery tray, a strut or universal-holder arm extended from a floor, ceiling or wall of the mail-delivery vehicle or an extension of the mail-delivery tray. The mail organizer can include a base with a removable tray of mail slots. The base can be movable and/or pivotal for adjustable access to the mail-delivery tray and to driver visibility laterally for driving. The mail slots can be predeterminedly linear or orthogonal to an axis of the delivery.

[0014] The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention should become even more readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings wherein there is shown and described illustrative embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0015] This invention is described by appended claims in relation to description of a preferred embodiment with reference to the following drawings which are explained briefly as follows:

[0016] FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a tray-based embodiment having vehicle-orthogonal mail slots;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a top view of the FIG. 1 embodiment;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of a tray-based embodiment having vehicle-axial mail slots;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a top view of the FIG. 3 embodiment;

[0020] FIG. 5 is a front view of the FIG. 1 illustration having color-coded and abbreviation-designated marks for sorting undeliverable mail by standard postal-service categories;

[0021] FIG. 6 is a representation of a preferred marking of either or both sides of the mail slots for the FIG. 1 illustration;

[0022] FIG. 7 is a front elevation view of a mail-organizer tray on a base and strut on which it can be placed and pivoted predeterminedly and having an overflow mail-organizer tray;

[0023] FIG. 8 is a front elevation view of a mail-organizer tray on a base attached to a universal-holder arm based on a structural member of a mail-delivery vehicle for being placed predeterminedly out of vision areas of rearview mirrors and windows at a side of the mail-delivery vehicle opposite a driver; and

[0024] FIG. 9 is the FIG. 8 illustration with a shortened universal-holder arm attached to a strut and/or a mail-delivery tray.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0025] Listed numerically below with reference to the drawings are terms used to describe features of this invention. These terms and numbers assigned to them designate the same features throughout this description.

[0026] 1. Mail-organizer tray

[0027] 2. Mail slots

[0028] 3. Mail-delivery tray

[0029] 4. Red circle

[0030] 5. CFS

[0031] 6. Yellow circle

[0032] 7. MNF

[0033] 8. Blue circle

[0034] 9. MSC

[0035] 10. Green circle

[0036] 11. FOE

[0037] 12. Black circle

[0038] 13. UBBM

[0039] 14. Tray sides tray

[0040] 15. Base

[0041] 16. Support strut

[0042] 17. Floor

[0043] 18. Universal-holder arm

[0044] 19. Back wall

[0045] 20. Retainer ridges

[0046] 21. Steering wheel

[0047] 22. Rearview mirror

[0048] 23. Window

[0049] 24. Lock lever

[0050] 25. Holder cable

[0051] 26. Holder balls

[0052] 27. Holder rods

[0053] 28. Overflow undeliverable-mail tray

[0054] Reference is made first to FIGS. 1-6 and 8-9. An undeliverable-mail organizer has a mail-organizer tray 1 with a predetermined plurality of mail slots 2 on a support predeterminedly above a mail-delivery tray 3 for a mail-delivery vehicle. The mail slots 2 are identification-marked for predetermined postal-service classes of undeliverable mail. As depicted in FIGS. 3 and 5-6, identification marking includes preferably a red circle 4 and an abbreviation CFS 5 for Central Forwarding System, a yellow circle 6 and an abbreviation MNF 7 for Moved Not Forwardable, a blue circle 8 and an abbreviation MSC 9 for Miscellaneous, a green circle 10 and an abbreviation FOE 11 for Forwarding Order Expired, and a black circle 12 with an abbreviation UBBM 13 for Undeliverable.

[0055] As depicted on the mail-organizer tray 1 in FIGS. 3 and 5, the undeliverable-mail organizer is referred to also as a Delivery Point Sequence Organizer or in abbreviated form as a DPS ORGANIZER.

[0056] Referring to FIGS. 1-9, the support can include tray sides 14, depicted in FIGS. 1-6, which are extended downwardly from sides of the mail-organizer tray 1 to rest on the mail-delivery tray 3 that is variously common to mail-delivery vehicles. Optionally as shown in FIG. 7, the support can include a base 15 having a support strut 16 extended from a wall that can include a floor 17 of the mail-delivery vehicle. Optionally also as shown in FIGS. 8-9, the support can include the base 15 having a universal-holder arm 18 intermediate the base 15 and either the wall or floor 17, the strut 16 or the mail-delivery tray 3.

[0057] The tray sides 14 utilized as the holder can provide side walls for containing mail. The mail-delivery tray 3 or the tray sides 14 can have a back wall 19 for containing mail that is accessible to a mail carrier on the mail-delivery tray 3 while also accessing the mail slots 2 of the mail-organizer tray 1. Additionally, the mail-delivery tray 3 can have retainer ridges 20 as shown in FIG. 3 as appropriate for preventing movement of the mail-organizer tray 1 caused by irregular movements of the mail-delivery vehicle. Other anchoring means can be provided to secure the mail-organizer tray 1 having the tray sides 14 to the mail-delivery tray 3 appropriately in opposition to the irregular movement of the mail-delivery vehicle.

[0058] As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 8-9, the support keeps the mail-organizer tray 1 outside of vision from a driver position proximate a steering wheel 21 in the mail-delivery vehicle to an opposite-side rearview mirror 22 and a window 23. The base 15 can be situated and optionally made pivotal on the support strut 16 for situating the mail-organizer tray 1 as appropriate for particular vehicle, driver and use conditions. The universal-holder arm 18 is particularly adaptive to placing the mail-organizer tray 1 predeterminedly as desired and then securing a selected position and orientation with a lock lever 24 that eccentrically lock-tightens an inside holder cable 25 to fix holder balls 26 in sockets of holder rods 27 rigidly where desired.

[0059] As depicted in FIG. 7, an overflow undeliverable-mail tray 28 can be placed in the mail-delivery vehicle for prospectively large amounts of undeliverable mail.

[0060] As shown in FIGS. 1-2, and 5-9 the mail slots 2 can be linear to an axis of the mail-delivery vehicle or, as shown in FIGS. 3-4, the mail slots 2 can be orthogonal to the mail-delivery vehicle.

[0061] A method for handling undeliverable mail by a mail carrier includes the following steps:

[0062] providing an undeliverable-mail organizer having an mail-organizer tray 1 with designated appropriate mail slots 2 for receiving designated classifications of undeliverable mail;

[0063] the mail-organizer tray being placeable removably on a support 14, 16, 18 in a mail-delivery vehicle at a position for access by the mail carrier to the mail-organizer tray and for access by the mail carrier to a delivery-mail tray 3 in the mail-delivery vehicle;

[0064] placing the mail-organizer tray 1 in the position for access in the mail-delivery vehicle at a start of a mail-delivery route;

[0065] placing undeliverable pieces of mail in the designated appropriate mail slots 2 of the mail-organizer tray 1 sequentially as the undeliverable pieces of mail are detected during mail delivery in the mail-delivery route;

[0066] removing the mail-organizer tray 1 with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots 2 at an appropriate portion of the mail-delivery route;

[0067] taking the mail-organizer tray with the undeliverable mail in the mail slots 2 into an appropriate post office;

[0068] removing the undeliverable mail from the mail slots 2 of the mail-organizer tray 1; and

[0069] placing the undeliverable mail in designated appropriate mail-handling facilities for handling the undeliverable mail in the post office.

[0070] A new and useful undeliverable-mail organizer and method having been described, all such foreseeable modifications, adaptations, substitutions of equivalents, mathematical possibilities of combinations of parts, pluralities of parts, applications and forms thereof as described by the following claims and not precluded by prior art are included in this invention.