Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hot Shot Mail Slots

My mailman's name is Charlie. I know this because I live in an old neighborhood where, rain or shine, Charlie still delivers the mail door-to-door, 6 days a week. While I've provided Charlie with a handsome wall-mounted mailbox to deliver my mail, many of my neighbors have mailslots. And, according to Charlie, many of those neighbors should consider replacing their worn out mailslot with a new mailslot from Shop 4 Classics.

If you live in a neighborhood where the letter carrier delivers mail to your door, you likely have a mailslot or have a neighbor with a mailslot. Mailslots are typically found in older neighborhoods where the mail carrier walks his route, delivering mail door to door. The US Post Office Department (now known as the US Postal Service) introduced free residential mail delivery in 1863. Initially, the mail carrier went home to home, knocking on doors and delivering mail to those that answered. Eventually, homeowners began installing letterboxes and mailslots so the postal carrier could leave mail when the homeowner wasn't available to answer the door.

Mail slots are usually installed horizontally in the front door. Mailslots have an exterior flap that covers the opening to provide privacy, prevent insects from passing through, and provide protection from the elements. The flap may rely on gravity to keep it closed or may be springloaded. Springloaded is usually best but a thick metal flap can be heavy enough to eliminate the need for a spring. If the mailslot is installed vertically rather than horizontally, a springloaded flap is required. Most mailslots include a plate for the interior as well. Often the interior plate also features a flap to provide additional weatherproofing and privacy.

Mailslots should be installed high enough to provide easy access to your postal worker but low enough to prevent damage to parcels inserted through it. Mailslot sleeves are available for installation between the interior and exterior plate. Sleeves are recommended for hollow core doors to prevent mail from falling into the cavity between the door panels. Although not required for a solid door, a sleeve can help mail pass through without getting snagged on a rough cut opening in a solid door.

There are two basic mailslot sizes, magazine and letter. Magazine mailslots are generally between 11" to 12" wide. Letter mailslots are normally between 7" to 8" wide. If you are replacing an existing mailslot, you may want to choose a similar sized mailslot to avoid modifying the opening in your door. Otherwise, the magazine mailslot is recommended so your mail carrier is less likely to find it necessary to bend mail or force magazine sized parcel through a letter sized opening.

Perhaps the mailslot's greatest asset is that the homeowner isn't required to step outside to retrieve mail. Capacity is another benefit. As my mailman will attest, my mailbox is occasionally overwhelmed with mail. A mailslot has no realistic limit to how much mail it can accept. On the downside, mailslots are a bit more difficult to install and, from a mail carrier's perspective, they can require a little extra effort to operate than a mailbox.

Shop 4 Classics offers a variety of mailslots in today's hottest finishes. Ranging from contemporary mailslots in satin nickel, to Arts & Crafts bronze mailslots, to gothic mailslots in vintage iron, to traditional polished brass mailslots, to hand-crafted Craftsman copper mailslots, you'll find many mailslots at Shop 4 Classics.

Charlie won't be delivering my mail on Monday. Monday is a holiday. To Charlie, Newman, Cliff Clavin, and all postal carriers as well as all Shop 4 Classics' customers, have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

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