I received a bunch of great email about my fortified mailbox entry. If you have pics of a vandal-resistant mailbox, email me!
Number42 sez: This one is my favorite mailbox of all time…
Nicholas sez: I don't have any photos, but I have a suggestion. My mother kept on
getting her mailbox hit in by someone driving by with a baseball bat or
similar object. To punish future bashers, I dug a good sized hole, and
planted a thick metal pole in it. After that set, I made a hole in the
bottom of the mailbox large enough so that the pole would fit in. I put
the mailbox on top of it, and then using more cement, filled up the back
of the mailbox with the cement, attaching the pole to the inside of the
mailbox. Make sure the pole goes into the back half of the mailbox, as to
still be able to get mail. This secures the mailbox the mailbox to the
pole, and from the outside, looks like every other mailbox, but if someone
hits it with anything, their hands will sting for a while, and the box
should stay intact.
John Wilson sez: I remember seeing an article in a magazine (popular mechanics?) about
4 or 5 years ago about a guy who went through three mailboxes in quick
succession. He was a welder, so he bought one of those great big
mailboxes, and modded it by replacing the sides and bottom with 1/2
inch thick steel, and the top with a section of 1/4 inch steel pipe
cut in half. Mounted it on a big-ass pole, deep hole, lots of
Couple days later he found a half broken baseball bat at the foot of
the mailbox. Not a dent in the box itself..
I googled and found a lot of messages in welder mailing lists of guys
doing similar projects. Another guy suggested putting down tire
spikes, or have some sharp, rusty metal scrap "accidently" fall out of
the back of the truck, near the approach path to the mailbox.
Googling for "welded mailbox" only brought up this though
Pancho Cole sez: I don't have a good picture, but I suspended my mailbox from an overhead
post using chains so that it was hard to do damage to it – the mailbox just
moves when a bat or a snowplow hit it.
Then there is this approach: http://www.steelmailbox.com/ and
the trick is to make your tough mailbx look "vanilla" – when they hit it
with a bat you get the satisfaction of hearing them scream as the shock
goes all the way up their arms. Of course you need a tough post to put it
on, some local kids borrowed their parents Hummer and went around driving
over mailboxes, they would have got away with it except they got stuck in a
ditch behind one mailbox. I suggest a steel post filled with concrete,
buried at least 3 feet and hopefully with a concrete footer poured around it.
Dave Hurley sez: Here is a link to a mailbox that the venerable Norm Abram of the "New
yankee Workshop" built on his PBS show some time back. I'm not sure
if fits in the category of "brick shithouse," but it certainly looked
stout enough on the show and it has the added benefit of being
good-looking to boot. I don't know about you, but I think building
one from NYW would be fun and it would certainly have a certain caché.
Nick Papadakis sez: Don't make the mailbox *look* fortified. Just fill it with
cement, and put it on a spindly ole pole so it looks naked and
vulnerable. With any luck, they'll break an arm …
Eric Thorsen sez: As a test: if the mailbox survived a hit the pebbles would get knocked off. Or maybe someone is buried in it…
Michael Green sez: How typical that people would overlook the fun they could have with this and instead go for the brut-force approach. I have a buddy who lived in a similar area and, after losing two mailboxes in one week, went for the "Q-Ship" approach. He found the most noticeable, but flimsy looking, mailbox available, painted it day-glo orange, filled it with cement, and mounted it at radiator level. Fortunately no one was killed, but he did manage to demolish the engine compartment of a Ford F150 pickup that tried to take it out later that evening. He never had another problem after that.
Alan Macdougall sez: could the pebbles be the markers of door to door itinerants? In the area
of rural New Zealand where I grew up, a small stone on the mailbox was
sometimes used by the Jehovah's witnesses to mark out which houses they'd
visited. So a kid's small prank was to remove these and cause the house to
be visited more than once, much to the annoyance of the inhabitants.
jeremy hunsinger sez:
just steel on a 4×4 post, like these.
you want a wood post because it is safer in case you run into it
yourself, you want it to break if you hit it with a car. to make the
post, get a 5 gallon pail, fill it with a plastic bag, pour it 2/3 full
of concrete then sit the post in the concrete and let it set up, then
sink the concrete about 2 inches underground, so only the post is
sticking out, and put the rolled steel mailbox on top of it. then…
tell your neighbors, once a few neighbors have these, it ruins the
whole mailbox baseball sport.
David Friedman sez:
While those homebrew solutions are nice, check out the Fort Knox Mailbox.
Their website comes complete with confusing rollovers, a promise to be "The
Last Mailbox You Will Ever Need to Buy!" and even a gallery of ugly
According to the FAQ, the 1/4" thick steel mailboxes ("Most skyscrapers and
bridges are made of the same material") can withstand:
Baseball bat = Definitely!
Pumpkin = Pumpkin Pie!
Sledge Hammer = Sure thing!
Rock / Boulder = Boing!
M-80 (explosive) = A 1/4 stick of dynamite has been tested with no phase to
the mailbox. It is equivalent of the force of four average M-80 bombs
together at once. Your mail will be ashes, but they won't steal it!
Dump Truck = Pulled the mailbox out of the ground in 180 pounds of concrete
& dragged it down the street for about 100 ft. A little exterior paint
patching and it was back to work the next day receiving mail.
28 Ton Boom Truck = Let's just say there was more damage to the boom truck!
James Goggin sez: Why don't you just dig a hole, put a large metal casing in the ground
with lockable hinged lid, yellow marking around a slot so your postman
knows what to do, and you'll have a mailbox with no further concern for
structual damage or, indeed, disapperance?
i saw your entry on boingboing.
i am looking for information on a mailbox that i think i saw on the hdtv network.
when vandals hit it with a baseball bat a spiked probe locks into the bat, also two vials of liquid release and spray the vandal. the first vial has a phosphor paint, the second vial has a very strong skunk odor.
if someone happens to email you about this mailbox, could you please forward the info to me.
clifford hedin sez: This is a mailbox my dad put in about twelve years ago after a few
teenaged bashings and careless drivers. He made it out of four
railroad ties, the 8 x 12 pieces of wood they lay down to support
railroad tracks. Those are tied together with several metal straps
hidden by some decorative rope. The whole thing got buried in the
ground about four feet. The original box is embedded inside. A few
years after he put it in, the road was repaved. That added a few
inches to the road height, so we attached a new mailbox to the outside
to appease the complaining mailman. The only time I can remember
anything happening to it, a car hit it and ran off. The impact tilted
it about four inches, not such a big deal to fix. I'm sure the car
had a bigger problem than we did.
Joe Schneider sez:
There's an interesting mailbox on my commute work.
It appears that the homeowner had some problems in the past, as they
used what appears to be a 4-5 inch "I" Beam, which I can only assume
is sunk more than a few feet down. Painted on the side is "HIT ME."
As I thought about it, it's a hell of an idea, and would do major
damage to anyone who hits it. I just wonder if it's legal, as anyone
hitting it is going to have some serious problems.
Anyway, i'll get ya the pics as soon as I get a chance.
dfghdfgh sdfg sez:
The brick shithouse can survivae a car based attack,
but not pedestrians. It is usually quite fragile. A
6' 180 lb person can easily separate the brick 'house'
from it's concrete foundation. Once separated, the
center of gravity is high enough it can easily be
rocked back and forth until it topples.
take it from one who knows…