The letter box is a container used to receive mail. It is used for business or private homes. This is opposite a post box, where outgoing mail is sent. The letter box is also known as a mailbox, mail slot and letterbox.
Letter Box Dimensions
The letter box s a term more frequently used in the UK. In the U.S., mail slot is employed more often. The slot is either vertical or horizontal. It measures 12 inches by 2 inches (30 x 5 cm). It is sliced through the lower half or center.
In Europe, the standards state the envelope size C4 (229 mm × 324 mm) must fit in the box easily and without causing damage. The box must be able to contain a stack of C4 envelopes 40 mm high minimum.
The aperture width must be 325–400 mm (> C4 height) or 230–280 mm (> C4 width). The letter box dimensions must have an aperture height reaching 30–35 mm. The mounting height has to be in the range of 0.7 and 1.7 m.
Styles and Designs
Four basic designs are used for the letter box. The first design is a slot in the door or wall where mail is sent. The second design is a box positioned near the street. The third is a box connected to the house. The fourth is a centralized unit made up of numerous letter boxes for the whole building or community.
The mail slot often has a flap to protect the content from varying weather conditions. Other letter boxes have another flap in the interior as further shelter from the weather. A small box may be inside the container to hold the mail.
Aside from the different letter box dimensions, many of them are attached, as opposed to the mail slots. These are quite common in the urban areas in Canada and the U.S. The attached letter boxes are also becoming prevalent in cities and towns. This is particularly true for mail sent via community rail stations and post office boxes.
History of Mailboxes in the U.S.
The U.S. started delivering mail to home addresses in 1863. Before the letter box was invented, the mailman had to knock and wait for someone to open the door. Every day the mailman lost at least 90 minutes just waiting for the door to be opened.
Because homeowners could not always be present, people started putting up the mail boxes where mail could be delivered. The well known U.S. curbside mailbox shape (tunnel top with curves and latching door) was created by Roy J. Joroleman of the U.S. Post Office.
The design was approved by the government and became widely used. Since then, numerous other letter box dimensions and designs have appeared elsewhere. Many new letter box designs have actually been patented.
Although email has become very popular, there are still places where the letter box is used. In many rural areas, it is a mainstay and vital for keeping in touch with other people. In places where email is not used, the letter box is essential.