Mailboxes that fight back

MrBensonsMailbox.jpg

When I was a kid, my neighbor Mr. Benson, was apparently on the receiving end of a bit of mailbox mischief. At some point, he got fed up. He made himself a new mailbox out of pipe, crafted a door, made a neat little platform for the mail to sit on and mounted the whole affair onto an I-beam, probably set several feet into the ground in a hefty pad of concrete. As far as I know, his new mailbox was never touched again. Fast forward a bit, and the kids of the old neighborhood now have mailboxes of their own to protect.

When he made his mail fortress, it was brightly painted in blue and yellow, a nice stainless knob still gives the user an easy way to open on the custom hinge. Decades later, his Vandal-B-Gone mailbox still stands, though it needs a bit of sand blasting and paint.

On a bike ride from my aunt’s house the other day, I saw several examples of similar constructions designed to thwart the casual ne’er-do-well hanging out the passenger side window of a night time batting practice run. But these were nothing like Mr. Benson’s bombproof box.

16 thoughts on “Mailboxes that fight back

  1. For most of the past few residences I’ve had, the mailboxes have been in the “several to one” gray variety owned & maintained by the USPS. Were I to find myself in an area with my own mailbox, I’d probably do my best to create the strongest, most malfeasance proof mailbox I could, but for all outward appearances have it look like the standard “please vandalize me” variety. Then watch the fun as someone in a moving vehicle wielding a baseball bat learns about intertia.

  2. This is a thing of beauty but sadly would be illegal in the rural area where I grew up. The mailboxes there were required to break away when they (inevitably) got hit by snow plows.

    Nothing like waiting for the spring thaw to find out where your mailbox went.

  3. When I was a kid, a guy on my street had built a similar mailbox: a section of ’rounded square’ 1/4″ steel pipe on a steel beam. The door (which opened downward, as normal) was spring-loaded and had a rubber gasket — I guess what’s worth doing is worth overdoing.

    Delivering newspapers one morning, I saw a trail of smashed mailboxes all down the street, ending abruptly with this one, which had been moved a fraction of an inch. The mailboxes thereafter were intact.

  4. Nice post, Chris.

    In his early 30s my Dad lived in the country for a few years. He had a problem with folks running over his mailbox, rather than whacking it with a bat. He eventually built a “trap” mailbox, which looked normal, except that instead of being set in concrete, the pole was welded to a wide steel plow disc, the edge of which was set with teeth made from sharpened bolts pointing upwards. He buried the pole with the teeth of the disc just an inch or so below the dirt. He came out one morning to find the box missing, and a trail of scraped pavement and leaking transmission fluid leading down the road about 200 yards, to where the car had been abandoned with the mailbox still wedged underneath.

  5. Where i grew up there was a law that required mailboxes to be be supported only by wood. The law was for driver safety. I believe it applied to all signage put up by the county too.

    1. I knew a guy who owned an apartment building with each unit having it’s own mailbox on the street, all lined up in a row. After the first attack of teenage mischief he installed an additional mailbox at one end filled with concrete. He never had a problem again.

  6. My dad had a friend who got an oversized mailbox after a baseball batting and fabbed a steel plate liner for it. He knew who was doing it, but had no proof. Seeing the guy with his arm in a sling at a hardware store a few days after setting it up made the effort to make it worth it.

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Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

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