Title:
Mailbox cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mailbox cover apparatus consisting of a sheet having at least two opposing edges that a are adapted to removably yet securely maintain the sheet intimately over the mailbox. The opposing edges are adapted to engage the mailbox at a bottom thereof such that the engaging means does not interfere with the aesthetics of the cover. In addition, the mailbox cover may also be adapted to display both surfaces thereof interchangeably as desired.



Inventors:
Paschal, Victoria (Acworth, GA, US)
Application Number:
09/759668
Publication Date:
07/18/2002
Filing Date:
01/12/2001
Assignee:
PASCHAL VICTORIA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
232/17
International Classes:
A47G29/122; G09F7/18; G09F7/20; G09F23/00; (IPC1-7): B65D91/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Victoria Paschal (Harrison, AR, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A cover for intimately engaging a mailbox, the mailbox comprising a top, a first side, a second side, and a bottom interconnecting a front and a back thereof to form an enclosure, and the mailbox engaging a post at the bottom thereof, said cover comprising: a sheet having a first surface and a second surface; a first edge, a second edge, a third edge, and a fourth edge being defined on said sheet such that said first and third edges are in opposing relation and said second edge and said fourth edge are in opposing relation; at least a first engaging means connecting between said second edge and said fourth edge of said sheet to enclose the mailbox therein.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein said second edge and fourth edge of said sheet are positioned near said bottom of said mailbox.

3. The cover of claim 2, wherein at least a first aperture is defined through said sheet in proximal relation to said fourth edge and a second aperture is defined through said sheet in proximal relation to said second edge.

4. The cover of claim 3, wherein said first engaging means is adapted to pass through said first and second aperture to connect said second edge to said fourth edge.

5. The cover of claim 4, further comprising a third aperture and a fourth aperture defined through said sheet in proximal relation to said fourth edge and said second edge respectively; a second engaging means being adapted to pass through said third and fourth apertures to connect said second edge to said fourth edge; said first aperture, said second aperture, and said first engaging means are located in proximal relation to said first edge; and said third and fourth apertures and engaging means being in proximal relation to said third edge.

6. The cover of claim 1, wherein the engaging means is a hook and loop fastener.

7. The cover of claim 1, wherein said first engaging means is adapted to allow alternating between displaying said first surface and said second surface of said sheet on said mailbox.

8. The cover of claim 1, wherein said mailbox further comprises an indicating flag located on said first side thereof and a first opening being defined through said sheet for accommodating the flag therethrough.

9. The cover of claim 8, where in a second opening is defined through said sheet for accommodating the flag therethrough when the first surface is going to be adjacent to the mailbox.

10. The cover of claim 9, wherein the sheet further comprises a first flap positioned next to said first opening and being adapted to occlude the same when said first opening does not have the flag therein; and a second flap positioned next to said second opening and being adapted to occlude the same when said second opening does not have the flag therein.

11. The cover of claim 1, wherein a fastening means securely engages said sheet to said mailbox in order to prevent unauthorized removal thereof.

12. The cover of claim 1, wherein at least a first indicia is located on said first surface and at least a second indicia is located on said second surface of said sheet.

13. The cover of claim 1, wherein said sheet is constructed from a material selected from a group consisting of polypropelene material, vinyl, rubber, cloth, and paper having weatherproof coating thereon.

14. A cover apparatus for intimately engaging a mailbox, the mailbox comprising a top, a first side, a second side, and a bottom interconnecting a front and a back thereof to form an enclosure, and the mailbox engaging a post at the bottom thereof, said cover apparatus comprising: a sheet having a first surface and a second surface; a first edge , a second edge, a third edge, and a fourth edge being defined on said sheet such that said first and third edges are in opposing relation and said second edge and said fourth edge are in opposing relation; at least a first engaging means connecting between said second edge and said fourth edge of said sheet to enclose the mailbox therein; said engaging means adapted to allow alternating between display of said first surface and said second surface.

15. The cover apparatus of claim 14, wherein said second edge and fourth edge of said sheet are positioned near said bottom of said mailbox and extend substantially along a length of said first side and said second side of said mailbox respectively.

16. The cover apparatus of claim 15, wherein said sheet further comprises a first aperture located in proximal relation to said first edge and said fourth edge; a second aperture located in proximal relation to said first edge and said second edge; a third aperture located in proximal relation to said third edge and said fourth edge; a fourth aperture located in proximal relation to said third edge and said second edge; a first engaging means adapted to pass through said first and second apertures to connect said second edge to said fourth edge; and a second engaging means adapted to pass through said third and fourth apertures to connect said second edge to said fourth edge.

17. The cover apparatus of claim 15, wherein said mailbox further comprises an indicating flag located on said first side thereof and a first opening being defined through said sheet for accommodating the flag therethrough when said first surface is distal to said mailbox, and a second opening being defined through said sheet for accommodating the flag therethrough when said second surface is distal to said mailbox.

18. The cover apparatus of claim 17, wherein the sheet further comprises a first flap positioned next to said first opening and being adapted to occlude the same when said first opening does not have the flag therein; and a second flap positioned next to said second opening and being adapted to occlude the same when said second opening does not have the flag therein.

19. A cover apparatus for intimately engaging a mailbox, the mailbox comprising a top, a first side, a second side, and a bottom interconnecting a front and a back thereof to form an enclosure, and the mailbox engaging a post at said bottom thereof, said cover apparatus comprising: a sheet having a first surface and a second surface; a first edge, a second edge, a third edge, and a fourth edge being defined on said sheet such that said first and third edges are in opposing relation and said second edge and said fourth edge are in opposing relation; at least a first attaching means located on said bottom of said mailbox; and at least a second attaching means located on said second edge and said fourth edge of said sheet, whereby said second attaching means of both second and fourth edges connect with said first attaching means on said bottom of the mailbox to maintain the sheet thereon.

20. The cover apparatus of claim 19, wherein said second attaching means is applied to both said first surface and said second surface of said sheet, whereby both of said first surface and said second surface can be alternated such that both of the surfaces can be displayed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to mailbox covers in general and pertains to decorative mailbox covers that can securely be attached to a mailbox, yet easily be removed, replaced, or changed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] For many years, free standing mailboxes have been widely used and have either been plain or permanently adorned with a design. To further decorate the mailbox, various mailbox covers have been used with inherent limitations. Several examples of mailbox covers having permanent and unchangeable designs are found in U.S. Pat. No. D385,676 to Childress et al., U.S. Pat. No. D377,706 to Perrish, U.S. Pat. No. D287,899 to Lindheimer, and U.S. Pat. No. D305,824 to Carter.

[0003] Various mailbox covers have also been known that allow attachment of a cover to the mailbox. U.S. Pat. No. 4,991,769 to Todd uses a flexible covering that is attached to a mailbox through either magnetic strips or fastening devices inserted into the mailbox. As can be appreciated, the magnets will not work with non-metallic mailboxes and the fastening system of Todd will permanently damage the mailbox.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,435,483 to Cox discloses a mailbox jacket that is made of rubber and is attached to the mailbox through the use of nuts and bolts located toward the lower portion of the cover. Such an embodiment may not be aesthetically pleasing because the nuts and bolts are clearly visible and are also cumbersome and time consuming to install.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 4,813,595 to Johns, Jr. et al. discloses a mailbox for receiving decorative overlays that requires the alignment of a plurality of holes along the mailbox with corresponding holes in the overlay and the insertion of rivets therethrough for attachment. As may be appreciated, such an arrangement requires the purchase of a new mailbox, which is not cost effective if a user already has a preexisting mailbox.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,106,016 to Beckmann teaches a decorative mailbox cover that is attached to a mailbox via the use of adhesive strips applied to the sides of the mailbox. As may be appreciated, the use of adhesives on the sides of the mailbox may permanently damage the same upon removal of the cover or may leave aesthetically unpleasant marks thereon. In addition, the use of such adhesives does not accommodate the removal and reinstallation of the same mailbox cover because of the failure of the adhesives.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,178,321 to Majewski teaches a mailbox cover that completely envelopes the mailbox by providing a cutout therein that will accommodate a post. Besides using excessive material that is needed to unnecessarily cover the bottom of the mailbox, the Majewski apparatus would fail to accommodate some of the more decorative posts upon which the mailboxes may be mounted.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,000,379 to LaRue discloses a mailbox cover that is made of a flat sheet with a pressure sensitive adhesive coating thereon to be applied to the mailbox directly. As can be appreciated, such adhesive attachment may damage the coating of the mailbox itself or cause discoloration of the same upon removal. In addition, the use of such adhesives does not accommodate the removal and reinstallation of the same mailbox cover because of the failure of the adhesives.

[0009] The prior art does not address the need for a mailbox cover that is capable of secure attachment yet is removable and easily replaceable. Therefore, there remains a long standing and continuing need for an advance in the art of mailbox covers that is simpler in both design and use, is more economical, efficient in its construction and use, and eliminates the damage caused to the mailbox.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to overcome the disadvantages of the prior art.

[0011] In particular, it is an object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that provides a means for preventing unauthorized removal thereof.

[0012] It is another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that can easily be replaced by an alternate cover.

[0013] It is another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that provides a first indicia on a first surface and an alternate indicia on a second surface thereof, where the cover can alternate between displaying the first indicia and the second indicia.

[0014] It is another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that is weatherproof.

[0015] It is another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that is quickly and easily mountable on a mailbox.

[0016] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that does not require nuts and bolts to mount the same onto a mailbox.

[0017] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that is less costly to manufacture and produce.

[0018] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a mailbox cover that does not does not damage the mailbox when mounted thereon

[0019] In keeping with the principles of the present invention , a unique mailbox cover is provided that is made of a sheet having a first surface and a second surface both having at least a pair of opposing edges. The sheet being adapted to intimately fit over a plurality of mailboxes the dimensions of the mailboxes being specified by U.S. Postal Regulations. The sheet is provided with a first flap that can be pulled back to expose a first opening for accommodating an indicating flag on the mailbox when the indicia on the first surface is to be displayed. In addition, the sheet is provided with a second flap that can be pulled back to expose a second opening for accommodating the indicating flag of the mailbox when the indicia on the second surface is to be displayed.

[0020] In one preferred embodiment, at least an opening is defined on each of the opposing edges of the sheet. When the sheet is placed over the mailbox in an intimate manner, the opposing edges of the sheet extend under the mailbox and at least an engaging means extends between the apertures on the opposing edges and securely yet removably maintains the sheet on the mailbox. Preferably, at least two engaging means are used to interconnect opposing edges of the sheet. The engaging means are themselves located in distal relation to one another on the sheet such that one engaging means is in proximal relation to the front of the mailbox and the other engaging means is in proximal relation to the back of the mailbox. Thereby, the cover is maintained in a taut fashion over the mailbox.

[0021] In another preferred embodiment, at least a pair of first attaching means are located on the bottom of the mailbox at opposing sides thereof. At least a pair of second attaching means are located on opposing edges of the sheet and may extend along a substantial length thereof. First attaching means on the bottom of the mailbox are adapted to receive the corresponding second attaching means located on opposing edges of the sheet. Second attaching means may be provided both on the first surface and the second surface of the sheet thereby allowing easy display of both surfaces as desired. It is also to be understood that a plurality of first and second attaching means may be used such that a long strip thereof may not be necessary.

[0022] In another preferred embodiment, a locking means may be provided on the cover to securely attach the same to the prevent unauthorized removal thereof. Any locking means known in the art may be used such as, but not limited to, a chain and padlock method.

[0023] Such stated objects and advantages of the invention are only examples and should not be construed as limiting the present invention. These and other objects, features, aspects, and advantages of the invention herein will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and the claims that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] It is to be understood that the drawings are to be used for the purposes of illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.

[0025] In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views:

[0026] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mailbox having a cover installed thereon in accordance with one preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a cover of the instant invention illustrating a first surface thereof.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a partial top plan view of a cover of the instant invention illustrating a second surface thereof.

[0029] FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial perspective view of a cover of the instant invention illustrating the application of an engaging means through an aperture.

[0030] FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial perspective view of a mailbox and a cover of the instant invention illustrating an alternate preferred embodiment of an attaching means.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0031] Referring to FIG. 1, therein is illustrated a mailbox 10 has a bottom 12, a top 14, a first side 16, a second side 18, a front 20 and a back 22 which are interconnected to produce an enclosure therein. In a preferred embodiment, mailbox 10 is in compliance with U.S. Postal Service regulations defining specific dimensions thereof. An indicating flag 24 extends from first side 16 and is adapted to be pivotable outside the plane of first side 16. Mailbox 10 is mounted onto a post 26 at bottom 12 thereof in a perpendicular manner.

[0032] Now also referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a cover 28 having flexible properties has a first surface 30 and a second surface 32, such that in one preferred embodiment when cover 28 is installed onto mailbox 10, second surface 32 is in contact therewith. In an alternate preferred embodiment, cover 28 can be flipped over such that first surface 30 is in contact with mailbox 10 and second surface 32 can be seen. First and second surface 30 and 32 are adapted to receive at least an indicia 34 thereon such that the indicia may be displayed when cover 28 is installed on mailbox 10. Cover 28 may be made of any durable and flexible material such as, but not limited to, polypropelene material, vinyl, rubber, cloth, and paper having weatherproof coating thereon. Indicia 34 may be applied to first surface 30 and second surface 32 of cover 28 in any manner that is known in the art such as, but not limited to, silk screening, stitching, manual application, gluing, and printing. Indicia 34 are used to present a variety of messages or designs to observers as desired.

[0033] In one preferred embodiment, cover 28 has a substantially rectangular shape defined by a first edge 36, a second edge 38, a third edge 40, and a fourth edge 42. First edge 36 and third edge 40 are in opposite relation and are adapted to be positioned in proximal relation to front 20 and back 22 of mailbox 10 when cover 28 is installed thereon. In addition, second edge 38 and fourth edge 42 are in opposite relation and are adapted to extend over first side 16 and second side 18 and curve onto bottom 12 when cover 38 is installed on mailbox 10.

[0034] A first replaceable flap 44 is provided on cover 28 such that when flap 44 is not in planar relation to cover 28 a first opening 46 is defined through cover 28. A second replaceable flap 48 is provided on cover 28 such that when flap 48 is not in planar relation to cover 28 a second opening 50 is defined through cover 28. First opening 46 and second opening 50 are adapted to receive indicating flag 24 therethrough without impeding the movement thereof. If first surface 30 is being displayed, first opening 46 will accommodate indicating flag 24 therein and second flap 48 will occlude second opening 50. If second surface 32 is being displayed, second opening 50 will accommodate indicating flag 24 therein and first flap 44 will occlude first opening 46.

[0035] In one preferred embodiment, a first aperture 52 is defined through cover 28 in proximal relation to a point of intersection between first edge 36 and fourth edge 42 and a second aperture 54 is defined through cover 28 in proximal relation to a point of intersection between first edge 36 and second edge 38. A third aperture 56 is defined through cover 28 in proximal relation to a point of intersection between third edge 40 and fourth edge 42 and a fourth aperture 58 is defined through cover 28 in proximal relation to a point of intersection between third edge 40 and second edge 38. Apertures 52, 54, 56, and 58 may be reinforced by, for example, the application of a metal ring (not shown) to cover 28 defining the same.

[0036] Now also referring to FIG. 4, a first engaging means 60 extends between first aperture 52 and second aperture 54 and maintains second edge 38 and fourth edge 42 in a secure yet adjustable manner such that cover 28 encircles mailbox 10 intimately. A second engaging means 62 extends between third aperture 56 and fourth aperture 58 and maintains second edge 38 and fourth edge 42 in a secure yet adjustable manner such that cover 28 encircles mailbox 10 intimately. In a preferred embodiment, engaging means 60 and 62 utilize a plurality of hook and loop fasteners 64 to form a loop 66 that passes through apertures 52, 54, 56, and 58 such that an edge of cover 28 is maintained therein.

[0037] Now referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, an alternate preferred attaching mechanism is illustrated for maintaining cover 28 in intimate relation with mailbox 10. At least a first attaching means 68 is connected to bottom 12 of mailbox 10 in proximal relation to sides 16 and 18. A second attaching means 70 is connected to surfaces 30 and 32 of cover 28 in proximal relation to second edge 38 and fourth edge 42. Second attaching means 70 located proximally to fourth edge 42 is connected to first attaching means 68 located on bottom 12 near first side 16, cover 28 is pulled and intimately placed over mailbox 10 and second attaching means 70 located proximally to second edge 38 is connected to first attaching means 68 located on bottom 12 near second side 18. Attaching means 68 and 70 may be any reusable attaching means known in the art such as, but not limited to, hook and loop fasteners.

[0038] Accordingly, cover 28 may quickly and easily affixed to mailbox 10 in a secure yet removable fashion. In addition, cover 28 may quickly and easily be flipped over such that alternate indicia 34 on the alternate surface may be presented. Furthermore, cover 28 may quickly and easily be removed and replaced with a new cover 28 as desired, yet the original may still be reused when necessary.

[0039] In order to prevent unauthorized removal of cover 28, at least a void 72 is defined through cover 28 and is medially positioned in proximal relation to either second edge 38 or 20 fourth edge 42. Void 72 may further be reinforced by an annular member placed on cover 28 wherein void 72 is defined. Annular member may be made of any rigid material such as, but not limited to, steel, copper, and iron. A reinforced elongated member 74 passes through void 72 and engages cover 28 in a secure fashion at one end and at an opposing end elongated member 72 engages post 26. A fastening means 76 is also provided on elongated member 74 such that post 26 is engaged by elongated member 74 in a secure fashion and thereby cover 28 may not be removed. Fastening means 76 may be any locking assembly that is known in the art such as, but not limited to, a padlock.

[0040] While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible without departing from the essential spirit of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.