Young Inventor Develops Safer Way to Get Mail

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A young inventor in Chester, NJ, has patented a simple device to retrieve mail from curbside mailboxes without having to stand in the street. He's now making and selling his invention to finance his colege education.

People who live on busy suburban or rural streets know the scenario: They stand in the roadway retrieving their mail while traffic whizzes past. It’s a scary and dangerous situation, particularly in bad weather and especially for children.

Anyone who has wrestled with a bundle of catalogs in the half light of a winter afternoon while keeping one eye on an approaching SUV has probably thought, “there has to be a better way to do this.” And now, thanks to the creative thinking of a young New Jersey inventor, there is.

Reed Holmes of Chester, NJ, was in the fifth grade when he decided to take on solving a perennial problem – the frequent loss of his family’s mailbox to passing snow plows – as his project for a class assignment on inventing. The result of his creative thinking was brilliantly simple and economical: a mounting bracket that uses an inclined turntable to allow the mailbox to be turned completely around, then automatically returns it to its original position.

When Reed and his dad Keith Holmes, co-owner of the popular Redwoods Grill and Bar in Chester, installed the first prototype on the family’s mailbox, they quickly recognized that the device provided an even more important safety benefit. The rotating bracket allowed them to get the mail without going into the street. They simply turned the mailbox around, removed the mail and released to swing back into its regular position facing the street.

And the newly installed SpinMail bracket also fulfilled its original purpose equally well. Since installing it, the family’s mailbox has survived three winters without any snow plow damage.
The invention was ingenious enough to earn Reed top honors among over 600 New York area competitors for a spot on ABC Television’s “American Inventor” series. Reed went on to appear on the program, though he did not take the top prize in the nationwide contest.

With the help of engineer friends and a local machinist, Reed has continued to refine his basic concept to develop the design that has now been patented as SpinMail. Now a college student majoring in entrepreneurial studies, he has also ordered the first production run of the SpinMail device and launched a website, http://www.spinmailbox.com, to begin selling this “better mailbox” nationwide, in part to finance his college education.

The all-steel bracket fits virtually any standard mailbox and can be easily installed in a few minutes using only a screwdriver. With an introductory price of $24.95 (plus shipping), the SpinMail bracket system is available for purchase at http://www.spinmailbox.com.

For more information, contact Reed Holmes by e-mail, info(at)spinmailbox(dot)com or call Keith Holmes at (908) 698-2023.

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Michael Brown
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