My May 12 column on rural mailboxes resulted in a letter from Richard Thomas, an Upland inventor, who wins the informal Dale Baldwin mailbox contest.
Faithful readers will remember that I asked for unusual solutions to supporting rural mailboxes. Most of the readers must have been on vacation, because I didn't get many responses to the column. The few I received wanted to know if there was a way to store mail while the homeowner was on vacation.
A few years ago, Thomas, a retired steel company executive, devised a hollow steel post, rectangular in section, and had it fabricated from 14-gauge galvanized steel. For $99, plus $15 shipping and handling (sales tax extra for California residents), the buyer gets the post and templates for mounting it and for cutting out the bottom of the existing mailbox.
"When we went on vacation, we would have a friend pick up our mail and put it in a shopping bag," Thomas recalled. "On garbage collection day, a relative came over and collected everything for trash pickup. Several times the shopping bag full of mail went into the trash. This led me to design this mailbox support post."
Mail deposited in the box falls through the center of the post and is secure from prying eyes--and hands. A locking door near the bottom of the post provides access to the mail when the vacationers return.
Like the mailbox post I illustrated May 12, the Thomas Post (Design Patent D-273-528) uses a concrete foundation, most likely poured from a packaged concrete mix. The instruction sheet with the post gives details on how to pour the concrete. One of the two templates helps the buyer position four bolts in the wet concrete to secure the 32-pound post to the foundation. This template is then inserted into the access door and serves as a raised bottom for the post, keeping the contents dry.
More information on the Thomas Post can be obtained from Richard Thomas, 584 West 22nd St., Upland, Calif. 91786.
The Old-House Journal, one of my favorite publications, has a special reprint on bungalows that will surely be of special interest to Californians. Although the bungalow style originated in India, it reached its zenith right here in the Golden State.
A bungalow is usually a one-story house, but there is a two-story variant called a semi-bungalow. The reprint has tips on restoring bungalows, making authentic light fixtures and repairing stucco, including moisture-prone lime-based stucco that was used on many older bungalows. The 25-page reprint from the May, 1985, issue of Old-House Journal is available for $1 from Bungalows, The Old-House Journal, 69A Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217.