Title:
Mailbox With Flag Indicator System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mailbox system includes more than one mailbox wall that defines a compartment with an open end, a lid that rotates from an open position to a closed position to enclose the open end of the compartment, an axle with a first end and a second end that passes through the mailbox wall, a flag attached to the first end of the axle outside of the compartment, an arm attached to the second end of the axle inside the compartment, and a locking bar that moves forward to release the arm such that the flag rotates from a lowered position to a raised position.



Inventors:
Walker, Ronald N. (Port St. Lucie, FL, US)
Application Number:
14/183731
Publication Date:
08/20/2015
Filing Date:
02/19/2014
Assignee:
WALKER RONALD N.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G29/122
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kevin McNeely, Esq. (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A mailbox system, comprising: more than one mailbox wall that defines a compartment with an open end; a lid that rotates from an open position to a closed position to enclose the open end of the compartment; an axle with a first end and a second end that passes through the mailbox wall; a flag attached to the first end of the axle outside of the compartment; an arm attached to the second end of the axle inside the compartment; a locking bar that moves forward to release the arm such that the flag rotates from a lowered position to a raised position.

2. The mailbox system of claim 1, wherein the locking bar comprises a first edge that includes a magnet that contacts the lid when the lid is in the closed position.

3. The mailbox system of claim 2, wherein the lid comprises a ferrous metal.

4. The mailbox system of claim 1, wherein the arm comprises an angled tooth with a slot that engages the locking bar and prevents a weighted end of the arm from swinging downward.

5. The mailbox system of claim 4, wherein the locking bar comprises a flexible member that flexes over the angled tooth when the flag is pushed down from the raised position to the lowered position.

6. The mailbox system of claim 4, wherein the locking bar moves forward when the lid is opened to disengage the locking bar from within the slot of the angled tooth such that the weighted end on the arm swings down thereby rotating the flag to the raised position.

7. The mailbox system of claim 1, further comprising a second flag rotateably attached to the mailbox wall.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to mailboxes and, more particularly, to mailbox flags.

BACKGROUND

Mailboxes are installed on the curb edge next to the road so postal delivery workers can drive along and insert mail into the mailbox. However, the person in the house, unless he or she sees the mailman, does not know whether or not the mail has arrived.

Mail box flags have been designed to indicate that mail has been delivered. The most widely used mailbox flag is one that is manually moved by the homeowner to let the mailman know that there is mail ready for pickup. These mailbox flags sit in a horizontal position prior to the mail being inserted into the mailbox. When mail is placed in the mailbox, the flag is moved to an upright position. However, these flags are typically only used by the homeowner to let the mailman know that there is mail that is ready for pick-up.

SUMMARY

In one general aspect, a mailbox with flag indicator system includes more than one mailbox wall that defines a compartment with an open end, a lid that rotates from an open position to a closed position to enclose the open end of the compartment, an axle with a first end and a second end that passes through the mailbox wall, a flag attached to the first end of the axle outside of the compartment, an arm attached to the second end of the axle inside the compartment, and a locking bar that moves forward to release the arm such that the flag rotates from a lowered position to a raised position.

Embodiments may include one or more of the following features. For example, the locking bar may have a first edge that includes a magnet that contacts the lid when the lid is in the closed position. As another feature, the lid is a ferrous metal and or is attracted to magnets.

As an additional feature, the arm includes an angled tooth with a slot that engages the locking bar and prevents a weighted end of the arm from swinging downward. The locking bar can be made of a flexible member that flexes over the angled tooth when the flag is pushed down from the raised position to the lowered position. The locking bar moves forward when the lid is opened to disengage the locking bar from within the slot of the angled tooth such that the weighted end on the arm swings down thereby rotating the flag to the raised position.

As a further feature, a second flag can be rotateably attached to the mailbox wall.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a mailbox system with an indicator flag in lowered and raised positions, respectively;

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the flag in a raised position;

FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 show side views of an arm and locking bar of the mailbox system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a mailbox system 10 includes a flag 12 on the outside of a mailbox wall 12. The flag 12 is attached to an axle 16 that passes through the mailbox wall 12 to the interior compartment of the mailbox.

The end at the inside of the mailbox compartment is attached to an arm 18. The arm has a weighted end 20. If allowed to rotate freely, the weighted end 20 drops down causing the flag 12 to raise up to a vertical position.

A locking bar extends 22 along a portion of the length of the mailbox. The locking bar 22 has a magnet 24 at an end proximate to a metal mailbox lid 26 and it slides horizontally. When the lid 22 is closed, the locking bar slides back such that it can be positioned to secure the arm 18 and flag 12 in a horizontal position by contact with an angled tooth 28 attached to the arm 18.

When the lid 26 is opened, the magnet 24 moves the locking bar 22 forward to move a beveled edge of the locking bar 22 away from the angled tooth 28. The direction of movement of the sliding bar 22 is shown by arrow A.

Once the angled tooth 28 is released the weighted end 20 causes the arm 18 to rotate to a vertical position and raise the flag 12 to a vertical position.

FIG. 3 is a top view and FIG. 4 is a side view of the flag 12 in a vertical position. As shown, a slot 30 in the angled tooth 28 is disengaged from the locking bar 22.

Once the lid 26 of the mailbox is closed, the locking bar 22 is pushed back and the flag 12 can be reset in the down (horizontal) position. Referring to FIG. 5, as the flag 12 is rotated into the horizontal position, the angled tooth 28 pushes against the locking bar 28 and “flexes” it out of the way in the direction of Arrow B. In other words, the locking bar 28 slides sideways against the angled tooth 28 as the angled tooth rotates.

As shown in FIG. 6, once the locking bar 22 clears the beveled edge of the angled tooth 28, it swings back and is positioned in the slot to lock it in place.