Title:
Holder for holding different sized mail containers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a holder for holding different sized mail containers having a first wall, a second wall opposite the first wall, a rear wall connecting the first and second walls, and a bottom support in contact with the first, second, and rear walls. An extension extends laterally from the first wall and has a stopper placed on top of the extension. The bottom support is adapted to receive a first mail container between the first, second, and rear walls. The extension and top end of the second wall are adapted to receive a second mail container, wherein the stopper inhibits movement of the second mail container. A mail tote sits in the holder while a mail tray sits on the holder.



Inventors:
Lafrance, Richard Albert (Wallingford, CT, US)
Joyce, David (West Haven, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/141818
Publication Date:
02/16/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2005
Assignee:
Agissar Corporation (Stratford, CT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/371
International Classes:
A47B91/00; A47G29/00
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Primary Examiner:
EPPS, TODD MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A holder for holding different sized mail containers, comprising: a first wall, a second wall opposite said first wall, a rear wall connecting said first and second walls, and a bottom support in contact with said first, second, and rear walls; said second wall having a top end; an extension extending laterally from said first wall; a stopper placed on said extension; wherein said bottom support is adapted to receive a first mail container between said first, second, and rear walls; and wherein said extension and said top end are adapted to receive a second mail container and wherein said stopper inhibits movement of said second mail container.

2. The holder according to claim 1, further comprising a furniture adapted to receive the holder.

3. The holder according to claim 2, said holder being integrally attached to said furniture selected from the group consisting of a mail cart, a workstation, a desk, and combinations thereof.

4. The holder according to claim 2, said holder being irremovably attached to said furniture.

5. The holder according to claim 1, wherein said first wall further includes a top end and a bottom end.

6. The holder according to claim 5, wherein said extension is placed between said top end and said bottom end, inclusive of said top and bottom ends, of said first wall.

7. The holder according to claim 1, wherein said first wall, second wall, rear wall, and bottom support are all integrally connected to one another.

8. The holder according to claim 1, wherein said stopper includes a protrusion on a top surface of said extension.

9. A holder for holding a mail tote that sits in the holder and a mail tray that sits on the holder, comprising: a first wall, a second wall opposite said first wall, a rear wall connecting said first and second walls, and a bottom support in contact with said first, second, and rear walls; said second wall having a top end; an extension attached to said first wall on a side opposite said second wall; said extension is generally perpendicular to said first wall; a stopper placed on a top surface of said extension; and said stopper and said first wall each having a respective top end; wherein the holder is adapted to interchangeably receive either the mail tray or the mail tote; wherein said bottom support is adapted to receive the mail tote placed on said bottom support between said first, second, and rear walls; wherein said top end of said second wall is adapted to receive the mail tray placed on an incline on said top end of said second wall sloping down toward said extension; and wherein said stopper inhibits movement of the mail tray.

10. The holder according to claim 9, wherein a line defined by said top ends of said first and second walls passes at or below said top end of said stopper.

11. The holder according to claim 9, wherein a line defined by said extension and said top end of said second wall passes at or below said top end of said stopper.

12. A holder for holding a mail tote that sits in the holder, comprising: a first wall, a second wall opposite said first wall, a rear wall connecting said first and second walls, and a bottom support in contact with said first, second, and rear walls; and wherein said bottom support is adapted to receive the mail tote placed thereon and between said first, second, and rear walls.

13. A holder for holding a mail tray that sits on the holder, comprising: a first wall, a second wall opposite said first wall, and a rear wall connecting said first and second walls; said second wall having a top end; an extension attached to said first wall on a side opposite said second wall; said extension is generally perpendicular to said first wall; a stopper placed on a top surface of said extension; said stopper and said first wall each having a respective top end; and wherein said extension and said top end are adapted to receive the mail tray and wherein said stopper inhibits movement of the mail tray.

14. A method for providing a holder for holding different sized mail containers, comprising the steps of: providing a first wall; placing a second wall opposite the first wall; providing a top end on the second wall; placing a rear wall between and in contact with the first wall and the second wall; placing a bottom support in contact with the first, second, and rear walls; laterally extending an extension from the first wall; placing a stopper on the extension; wherein a first mail container may be placed on the bottom support between the first, second, and rear walls; and wherein a second mail container may be placed on the top end and the extension wherein the stopper inhibits movement of the second mail container.

15. The method according to claim 14, further comprising the step of providing a top end and a bottom end on the first wall.

16. The method according to claim 15, further comprising the step of placing the extension between the top and bottom ends, inclusive of the top and bottom ends, of the first wall.

17. The method according to claim 16, further comprising the step of stopping the second mail container from sliding in a general direction from the second wall toward the first wall.

Description:

PRIORITY APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/601,440, filed Aug. 13, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a rack system that can support either postal mail totes or postal mail trays.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Workspace is often at a premium in the mailroom, and the task of sorting mail often requires that a person unloads and/or loads mail of various sizes. Sometimes a user may be assigned the task of loading mail, unloading mail, and then loading mail again. Moreover, the container used to load mail may be of a different size than the container used to unload mail. Further, the user may need to load and/or unload mail quickly because the mail may come off of or go onto processing equipment which is set at a particular rate.

The containers often used are a tote, which is generally 18.5″L×13.25W×11.5H, and a tray, which is generally 25″L×11.5W×4.75H. Postal mail totes are normally used for handling “flats” (oversized envelopes, manila envelopes, overnight envelopes, etc.) while postal mail trays are often used for standard envelopes up to #10 size. Typically, when envelopes are loaded into a tote, the mail is laid flat in the tote, stacked one envelope on top of another. When envelopes are loaded into a tray, they are usually positioned standing on their long edge, face to face. Positioning the postal mail tray at an angled position may facilitate the loading/unloading of the mail by reducing the tendency of the envelopes at the end of the stack to fall, which then often requires the user to manipulate the stack back to a vertical orientation prior to loading/unloading additional envelopes.

Considering that postal totes and trays differ in size, and because workspace is often crowded due to the abundance of mail, it may be impractical to use a workstation that accepts a tote only and a separate workstation that accepts a tray only. Additionally, mail sometimes needs to be loaded or unloaded in different areas of the mailroom.

What is desired, therefore, is a holder for holding either sized container within the same workspace. Another desire is a holder that permits various-sized containers-to be interchanged quickly and easily. A further desire is a holder for holding various sized containers that may be an integral part of a mail cart, workstation, or desk. Yet another desire is a holder that may be a stand alone system that can be moved around to where it is needed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide a holder for holding mail containers of different sizes.

Another object of the invention is to provide a holder that allows a mail container to be easily placed in and taken out of the holder regardless of the size of the mail holder.

A further object is a holder that may be removably attached to a mail cart or other furniture.

Yet another object is a holder that is integrally attached to a mail cart or other furniture.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved by a holder for holding different sized mail containers having a first wall, a second wall opposite the first wall, a rear wall connecting the first and second walls, and a bottom support in contact with the first, second, and rear walls. An extension extends laterally from the first wall and has a stopper placed on top of the extension. The bottom support is adapted to receive a first mail container between the first, second, and rear walls. The extension and top end of the second wall are adapted to receive a second mail container, wherein the stopper inhibits movement of the second mail container. A mail tote sits in the holder while a mail tray sits on the holder.

The holder may be removably or integrally placed on top of a furniture, such as a mail cart, a workstation, a desk, and combinations thereof. Moreover, the first wall, second wall, rear wall, and bottom support may all be integrally connected to one another.

The extension laterally extends from the first wall between a top end and a bottom end, inclusive of the top and bottom ends, of the first wall. The stopper may be a protrusion on a top surface of the extension.

In another aspect of the invention, the first wall, second wall, and stopper each has a top end and the extension is attached to the first wall on a side opposite the second wall. The extension is generally perpendicular to the first wall and a stopper is placed on a top surface of the extension. The bottom support is adapted to receive a first mail container placed between the first, second, and rear walls. The extension and top end of the second wall are adapted to receive a second mail container, wherein the stopper inhibits movement of the second mail container and wherein a line defined by the top ends of the first and second walls passes at or below the top end of the stopper.

In a further aspect of the invention, a method for providing a holder for holding different sized mail containers includes the steps of providing a first wall, placing a second wall opposite the first wall, providing a top end on the second wall, and placing a rear wall between and in contact with both the first wall and the second wall. The method also includes the steps of placing a bottom support in contact with the first, second, and rear walls and laterally extending an extension from the first wall. The method places a stopper on the extension so that a first mail container may be placed on the bottom support between the first, second, and rear walls. A second mail container may be placed on the top end and the extension wherein the stopper inhibits movement of the second mail container.

The method may include the step of providing a top end and a bottom end on the first wall so that the extension may be placed between the top and bottom ends, inclusive of the top and bottom ends, of the first wall.

The method may also include the step of stopping the second mail container from sliding in a general direction from the second wall toward the first wall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts the holder in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a top view of the holder in FIG. 1 and where the holder is occupied by a large mail tote.

FIG. 3 depicts a front view of the holder in FIG. 1 and where the holder is occupied by a large mail tote.

FIG. 4 depicts a top view of the holder shown in FIG. 1 and where the holder is occupied by a small mail tray.

FIG. 5 depicts a front view of the holder shown in FIG. 1 and where the holder is occupied by a small mail tray.

FIG. 6 depicts the holder shown in FIG. 1 being occupied by a small mail tray.

FIG. 7 depicts the holder shown in FIG. being occupied by a large mail tote.

FIGS. 8 and 9 more particularly depict the relative heights of various parts of the holder shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3.

FIGS. 10 and 11 depict applications of the holder shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1-3 and 7 depict holder 10 for mailing a parcel in accordance with the invention. Holder 10 includes left side wall 24 and right side wall 28 for positioning large mail tote 5. As shown, large mail tote 5 is placed between left side wall 24 and right side wall 28. The weight of tote 5 is supported by bottom support 22. Back wall 32 is employed to inhibit tote 5 from falling off holder 10. There is no front wall since tote 5 is placed in and out of holder 10 through this area opposite back wall 32 and a front wall may hinder placing tote 5 in and out of holder 10.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5, and 6, holder 10 also includes stopper 20 for inhibiting small mail tray 7 from sliding off right side wall 28, which is used to support tray 7 in an inclined position. Both tote 5 and tray 7 are provided in standard sizes. Hence, positioning stopper 20, left side wall 24, and right side wall 28 generally accommodates most types of totes 5 and tray 7.

What is unique about this concept is that the larger in height postal tote 5 is inserted into the rack in the Y axis, while the smaller in height but longer in length mail tray 7 is inserted in the X axis in a cantilevered position to minimize its overall length.

The rack can be fabricated from material that is suited to support the weight of the fully loaded mail containers. Materials considered as design elements may vary based upon the design of ancillary or integral equipment and should include but not be limited to sheet metal, wood, plastics and composites.

A typical measurement for a distance between left side wall 24 and right side wall 28 may be approximately 1 to approximately 54 inches. A preferred distance may be approximately 9.50 to approximately 19.50 inches. A more preferred distance may be approximately 11.50 to approximately 17.50 inches. And a most preferred distance between left side wall 24 and right side wall 28 may be approximately 13.50 to approximately 15.50 inches.

A typical measurement for a distance between stopper 20 and right side wall 28 may be approximately 8 to approximately 31 inches. A preferred distance may be approximately 12 to approximately 23 inches. A more preferred distance may be approximately 14 to approximately 21 inches. And a most preferred distance between stopper 20 and right side wall 28 may be approximately 16.12 to approximately 18.12 inches.

To accommodate an incline of small mail tray 7, a typical measurement for a distance between top 21 of stopper 20 and top 29 of right side wall 28 may be approximately 1 to approximately 30 inches. A preferred distance may be approximately 2 to approximately 13 inches. A more preferred distance may be approximately 4 to approximately 11 inches. And a most preferred distance between top 21 of stopper 20 and top 29 of right side wall 28 may be approximately 6.69 to approximately 8.69 inches.

As shown in FIGS. 1-7, stopper 20 is a protrusion extending upwardly from extension 36. As shown, extension 36 is coplanar with bottom support 22. In fact, extension 36 is a part of bottom support 22 extending beyond left side wall 24 on a side of left side wall 24 opposite right side wall 28. In other embodiments, extension 36 is not coplanar with bottom support 22 and may be elevated higher or lower than bottom support 22.

Stopper 20 is any structure that protrudes from extension 36 for inhibiting movement of tray 7. In order for stopper 20 to inhibit movement of tray 7, top end 21 of stopper 20 is higher, or protrudes upwardly from extension 36, than an imaginary line that intersects top end 44 of left side wall 24, top end 29 of right side wall 28, and either stopper 20 or extension 36. As shown in FIG. 8, imaginary line L intersects stopper 20 below top end 21 of stopper 20. Line L represents a bottom surface of tray 7 when tray 7 is placed in holder 10, specifically on top ends 44, 29. As tray 7 is placed on an incline defined by top ends 44, 29, tray 7 may slide downwardly toward stopper 20. Hence, so long as stopper 20 intersects line L, tray 7 will be inhibited from further movement once tray 7 contacts stopper 20 or extension 36. It is understood that the distance of extension 36 relative to bottom support 22 is not critical for stopper 20 to inhibit movement. The height of top end 21 of stopper 20 relative to top ends 44, 29 of left and right side walls is critical, wherein line L that passes through top ends 44, 29 and is below top end 21.

In FIG. 9, line L does not even intersect stopper 20 but intersects extension 36. In this fashion, extension 36 would inhibit further movement of tray 7. In some embodiments, it would be stopper 20 that inhibits movement of tray 7 because tray 7, while initially may rest upon top ends 44, 29, may eventually slide downwardly toward stopper 20 and the frictional contact between extension 36 and tray 7 may not be large enough to overcome the movement of tray 7 moving downwardly toward stopper 20. However, tray 7 would likely be inhibited from further movement once in contact with stopper 20. Hence, as described above, so long as line L intersects stopper 20 or extension 36, tray 7 will be inhibited from further movement.

FIGS. 10 and 11 depict application of holder 10 to unit 12 facilitating sorting mail, where unit 12 may be a desk, shelf, or other work station. In some embodiments, holder 10 may be integrally attached to unit 12. In other embodiments, holder 10 may be irremovably attached to unit 12.