Title:
Waterproof mail bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective cover for a mail carrier's standard bag which protects the mail from becoming wet in inclement weather and reduces wear on the standard bag. A waterproof mail carrier's bag which protects the mail.



Inventors:
Simms, Cosmian E. (Baltimore, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/438519
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
05/22/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C15/00
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Primary Examiner:
SKURDAL, COREY NELSON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HODES, PESSIN & KATZ , P.A (BALTIMORE, MD, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A protective cover for a standard bag used by a mailman, comprising a front panel and a back panel connected by two sides and a bottom panel thereby forming an opening in the protective cover, the back panel having a lengthened upper portion which may be folded over the opening, the front panel having a lengthened upper portion which may be folded into the opening, the upper portion of the back panel having a second panel connected thereto forming a pocket on the upper portion of the back panel, wherein the standard mailman bag, having a bag portion and an extended back portion, is received in the protective cover, the bag portion of the standard mailman bag being received in the opening in the protective cover and the extended back portion of the standard bag being received in the pocket on the upper back portion of the protective cover, the lengthened upper portion of the front panel being disposed inside the bag portion of the standard bag wherein said lengthened portion protects the contents of the standard bag from rain and inclement weather, wherein the protective cover further protects the standard mailman bag from wear and extends the use life of the standard mailman bag.

2. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein the protective cover is formed from a transparent, waterproof material.

3. The protective cover of claim 1, further comprising means on the protective cover to attach a carrying strap.

4. The protective cover of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of openings formed in the back panel to receive therein a corresponding plurality of rings formed in the standard bag such that a carrying strap may be connected the plurality of rings.

5. A waterproof mail bag used by a mail man, the bag having a body with a front panel, a back panel, a bottom, a first side, and a second side, the sides connecting the bottom with the first panel and the back panel thereby forming an opening opposite the bottom, the rear panel extending upwardly from the body and having a length to cover the opening of the body and to partially cover the front panel, the front panel extending upwardly from the body and being disposed within the opening in the body to protect the contents of the bag from rain and inclement weather.

6. The waterproof mail bag of claim 5, wherein the mail bag is formed from a waterproof material.

7. The waterproof mail bag of claim 6, wherein the waterproof material is vinyl.

8. The waterproof mail bag of claim 5, wherein a plurality of rings are attached to the body of the mail bag such that a carrying strap may be connected to the plurality of rings to assist the mailman in carrying the mail bag.

9. A method of protecting mail in a standard mailman bag comprising the steps of: providing a protective cover for the standard bag, the standard bag being received within the protective cover, the protective cover being formed from a waterproof material, the protective cover having a flap formed as an extension of a front panel thereof, inserting the flap into the standard bag such that the flap prevents rain and snow from entering the standard bag, thereby protecting the mail in the standard bag.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is related to Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/683,499 filed May 23, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a protective cover for a standard mailman bag. More particularly, the present invention relates to a protective cover which protects the mail from rain and inclement weather and extends the use life of the standard bag. A method of protecting the mail is disclosed.

2. Description of Related Art

At the present time, mail carriers have a standard bag supplied by the U.S. Postal Service. The bag is formed from fabric which is water repellent which has a plastic inner surface. The bag is not waterproof and after a relatively short time, the inner surface becomes worn and abraded from the corners of the envelopes, the magazines and the small boxes which are normally hand carried by the mail carrier. The worn surfaces are more likely to be penetrated by rain. The very design of the standard bag permits the entry of rain and snow into the opening of the bag as the bag is carried on the delivery route. The mail carrier usually folds the top panel of the bag into the opening for ease of access to the mail within the bag. The top panel is usually not lifted and replaced over the bag opening every time the carrier goes to adjacent houses because this procedure becomes time consuming and delays completion of delivery. In inclement weather, the procedure is not changed and rain and snow enter directly into the bag. It is not uncommon for water to accumulate on the bottom inside the standard bag. The mail often becomes damaged from the water.

In some locations, the mail carrier has a truck in which the mail to be delivered is deposited at the beginning of the work day. The mail carrier drives to his assigned delivery route. The mail carrier takes the standard bag to the rear of the parked truck to transfer a portion of the mail which can be carried in the bag. Because of mail security, all mail must be taken from the locked rear of the truck. In inclement weather, transfer of the mail from the truck to the standard bag usually results in at least a portion of the mail becoming wet because there is no means to protect the bag from the rain or snow.

This problem has existed as long as the mail has been delivered. The applicant is unaware of any device or method which can protect the mail from the inclement weather.

The applicant is aware of the following patents and published applications.

Inventor(s)U.S. Pat. No.
Berry et al1,744,719
Freed2,429,019
Allen2,436,369
Veilleux3,314,464
Kuvik3,662,803
Stanley4,953,697
Riceman5,172,795
Howorka5,293,975
Millar5,690,155
Bang et al5,947,604
Trevino6,279,796
Author(s)Publication No.
Metzig et alUS 2004/0206431

Berry et al, Freed, Stanley and Trevino all disclose a cover with a drawstring closure. Allen and Bang et al disclose covers with a different closure feature for protecting the contents of the cover. The protector of Kuvik covers only the top of the bag and affords no protection to the sides or bottom. The devices of Howorka, Riceman, Metzig et al and Veilleux enclose the entire bag but have no foldover or double flaps. The rain cover for a golf bag by Millar encloses the entire bag and has foldover flaps. The Millar device does not have an inner folding panel. None of these references are directed to a protective cover for a bag for carrying mail and, furthermore, none of these references are structurally similar to the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a waterproof cover for a mail carrier's bag which prevents rain and snow from entering the bag and damaging the mail. The present invention also extends the use life of the standard letter carrier's bag.

It is a first object of the invention to protect the mail from the effects of inclement weather. It is a further object of the invention to assist the letter carrier in delivery of the mail. It is a still further object of the present invention to reduce wear on the standard letter carrier's bag thereby extending the life of the standard letter carrier's bag and to effect cost savings for the U.S. Postal Service.

In accordance with the teachings of the present invention. There is disclosed a protective cover for a standard bag used by a mailman. The bag has a front panel and a back panel connected by two sides and a bottom panel thereby forming an opening in the protective cover. The back panel has a lengthened upper portion which may be folded over the opening. The front panel has a lengthened upper portion which may be folded into the opening and is covered by the upper portion of the back panel. The upper portion of the back panel has a second panel connected thereto forming a pocket in the upper portion of the back panel. The standard mailman bag, having a bag portion and an extended back portion, is received in the protective cover. The bag portion of the standard mailman bag is received in the opening in the protective cover and the extended back portion of the standard bag is received in the pocket on the upper back portion of the protective cover. The lengthened upper portion of the front panel is disposed inside the bag portion of the standard bag wherein said lengthened portion protects the contents of the standard bag from rain and inclement weather. The protective cover further protects the standard mailman bag from wear and extends the use life of the standard mail bag.

In further accordance with the teachings of the present invention, there is disclosed a method of protecting mail in a standard mailman bag. A protective cover for the standard bag is provided. The standard bag is received within the protective cover. The protective cover is formed from a waterproof material. The protective cover has a flap formed as an extension of a front panel thereof. The flat is inserted into the standard bag such that the flap prevents rain and snow from entering the standard bag, thereby protecting the mail in the standard bag.

These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the following specification taken in conjunction with the enclosed drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mail carrier carrying the standard mail bag in inclement weather.

FIGS. 2A-2D are a sequence of cross-sectional views showing the standard mail bag which is uncovered during a rainfall and the accumulation of water inside the mail bag.

FIG. 3 is a cutaway view of the inner surface of the bag of FIG. 1 showing wear on the bag.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the protective cover of the present invention.

FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of the standard mail bag received in the protective cover.

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view showing the standard mail bag opened with the protective cover protecting the contents of the bag from rain.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken across the lines 6-6 of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the letter carrier in the rain carrying the standard bag in the protective cover.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a mail bag formed from a waterproof material.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the mail in the standard carrier bag 10 is minimally protected from rain and snow and is liable to damage from water, rain and snow. The standard bag 10 has a front panel, a back panel, two side panels and a bottom panel. An opening is formed into which the mail is placed for delivery by the letter carrier. The inside of the standard carrier bag has pockets formed therein for separation of certified mail, registered mail and other items from the bulk of the mail. The back panel is extended in length and is generally folded over the opening in the bag.

The protective cover 12 of the present invention (FIG. 4) has a front panel 14, a back panel 16, two sides 18, 20 and a bottom panel 22 forming a bag with an opening 24. As shown in FIGS. 5A, 5B, 6 and 7, the standard bag 10 is disposed in the opening 24 in the protective cover 12. The back panel 16 has a lengthened upper portion 26 which has sufficient length so that it may be folded over the opening 24 in the bag to partially cover the front panel 14. The upper portion 26 of the back panel has a second panel 30 attached to the inner surface thereof. Thus, a pocket is formed on the inner surface of the upper portion 26 of the back panel. When the standard bag is received within the protective cover 12, the extended back panel of the standard bag is received and retained within said pocket. The front panel 14 of the protective cover has a lengthened upper portion 28 which extends over the opening 24 in the bag and may be folded into the opening in the standard bag 10 to partially cover the contents of the bag and especially the certified mail and registered mail. Thus, rain and snow are prevented from entering the inner portion of the standard bag because the upper portion of the front panel is disposed over the opening in the standard bag. The upper portion 26 of the back panel covers the upper portion 28 of the front panel when the upper portion of the back panel is disposed to cover the opening 24 of the bag. However, most of the time the upper portion 26 of the back panel is folded into the opening 24 of the bag to allow the mail carrier to remove the mail from the bag more rapidly and without having to lift the upper portion of the rear panel as the mail carrier goes from house to house.

It is preferred that the protective cover 12 be formed from a waterproof material. Relatively heavy gauge plastic such as 20 weight vinyl has been used satisfactorily. It is further preferred that the protective cover 12 be formed from a transparent material to enable the mail carrier to better see the mail. The seams where the panel adjoin may be formed by sewing, electronically welding, ultrasonically sealing or by other means known to persons skilled in the art.

The back panel 22 of the protective cover 12 may have a plurality of openings 32 formed therein to receive a corresponding plurality of rings 34 formed on the standard bag 10. The rings are disposed through the openings 32 such that a carrying strap 36 may be connected to the plurality of rings and the standard bag with the protective cover 12 may be worn by a letter carrier. Alternately, means such as rings, hooks, loops or other connectors known to persons skilled in the art may be attached to or formed on the protective cover 12 to which a carrying strap maybe connected for carrying the standard bag with the protective cover.

The protective cover 12 further reduces wear on the standard bag 10 by physically absorbing forces external to the standard bag. Also, since water inside the standard bag is a major source of damage and wear, the protective cover 12 significantly reduces this wear factor.

As a result of using the protective cover 12, the life of the standard bag is increased, replacement costs are reduced, the volume of damaged mail is significantly reduced, significant savings are realized by the U.S. Postal Service and the public image of the U.S. Postal Service is improved.

The present invention solves a longstanding problem which has not been satisfactorily addressed by persons skilled in the art.

Alternately (FIG. 8), the mail bag 38 may be formed from a waterproof material such as a heavy gauge vinyl plastic. The mail bag 38 has a front panel 14, a back panel 16, a bottom 22, a first side 18 and an opposite second side 20. The sides 18, 20 connect the bottom 22 with the front panel 14 and the back panel 16 to form a body with an opening 24 opposite from the bottom. The rear panel extends upwardly from the body and has a length 26 to cover the opening in the body and to partially cover the front panel. The front panel extends upwardly 28 from the body and is disposed within the opening 24 in the body to protect the contents of the bag from rain and inclement weather. Means such as a plurality of rings 34 are attached to the body. The rings may be on the sides or on the back panel. The body may be reinforced to more securely support the rings. The means are not limited to rings but may be hook and loop fasteners, snaps, clips or other connectors known to persons skilled in the art. The connectors are attached to cooperating means formed on a carrying strap 36 so the bag 38 may be carried by the letter carrier.

Obviously, many modifications may be made without departing from the basic spirit of the present invention. Accordingly, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than has been specifically described herein.