Commercially manufactured anti-vandal mailboxes in The Atlantic

After reading my entries about hand-made fortified mailboxes, Wayne Curtis sent me a hilarious article he wrote for The Atlantic Monthly in June 2001 about commercially manufactured anti-vandal mailboxes. The full article is here. Below is an except.

200706131038Nationwide there are now a dozen or so manufacturers of mailbox-defense systems and vandal-resistant mailboxes. The Pivoting Post Company makes an arm that swings the mailbox away on impact; this is supposed to preserve the mailbox intact. Jandmar makes the MaiLocker, which has a peaked roof and a Darth Vaderesque aspect, and according to company literature, it is the product of "several years of research and testing." EPM sells the Vandalgard, a hardened encasement with a prominent dorsal fin which wraps around a pre-existing mailbox; the company claims that the device will put "an end to damage from baseball bats, rocks, water balloons, snow plow discharge, beer bottles, and shotguns."

Judging by the letters and e-mails [Veeders Mailbox founder Jonathan] Magro receives from satisfied customers, one of the motives behind splurging on an expensive and durable mailbox is the hope that troublemakers will learn of it the hard way–by swinging at it while leaning from a car traveling at a high rate of speed. "We've had it now for some 12 or so years," one pleased customer from Massachusetts wrote last December, "and have often been awakened in the middle of the night with the sound of a ball bat, pipe or some other implement hitting the box, followed shortly thereafter by a scream."


Previously on Boing Boing:

Ugly mailboxes blog

Survival of the fittest mailbox

Fortified mailboxes, part 2

Mailboxes that fight back

Reader comment:

Kieran says:

After reading through your recent stories about "indestructable mailboxes", I went searching for an NPR story I heard awhile ago on the topic. Unfortunately I cannot locate it on their website, or on the ole intertubes, but thought it was relevant to the discussion.

The story was about a farmer who's mailbox was regularly getting smashed and he grew tired of replacing it. What he decided to do was teach the kids a lesson by giving them a surprise on their next attempt. He put the mailbox on a steel pole, embedded it several feet in the ground, and poured in a heavy concrete base. I believe he reinforced the mailbox itself as well, but all of this was done in such a way that it did not appear fotified.

Eventually the kids came back for another run, one of them wound up and swung at the mailbox, and because it was so strong, when he hit it the bat rebounded and struck him in the head, killing him instantly. The kid's family sued and won, I believe the grounds were that because the farmer intentionally built the mailbox in such a way that it appeared to be normal, but in fact was extrodinarily strong, he was complicit in the boy's death.

The reason I bring this up, many of the comments people sent in about your mailbox post were of the nature of "this will learn em". Extreme caution is warranted, because as in the example I cited above, if your actions result in an injury, you could be liable.