About this project
I'm excited to be here with my first project. If you're a midcentury modern enthusiast I believe you are going to love the modbox.
Find us at:
Website - http://modboxusa.com
As a midcentury modern enthusiast, I was frustrated when I couldn't find a mailbox that complemented the midcentury aesthetic of our home. In the Fall 2013 issue of Atomic Ranch, a reader asked: "Do you know a good source of 50s period mailboxes? In conclusion, the editor stated "...the retro market seems to be wide open."
After months of research, I agree. All of the companies that produced mid century modern mailboxes from the 1950s to mid-1970s had either disappeared or been acquired. The single remaining company stopped producing their version, called "Sleek Suburban," in the early 90s.
So, the only option was to search eBay and Etsy every day for a vintage mailbox. Over the past eight months, only two were listed for sale and I bought one.
Good design should last forever, that's why I created modbox - a Retro Mid-Century Modern mailbox.
I searched mailbox patents, old Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs, and past issues of magazines. One modern design stood out. Variations of the design were manufactured by various companies. Leigh Building Products' mailbox was sold by Montgomery Ward and Sears had a similar design.
This collage shows some of the mailboxes I found, with the Sears 1961 “Diamond Jubilee – Sears 75 Years” catalog image in the upper left. The mailbox was “Specially chosen for Sears Jubilee Value.” The mailbox featured two-tone colors with a special angled mailbox post, too.
The modbox incorporates the best design elements from the various manufacturers over the 20-year period
The starting point was the dimensions from the vintage Leigh Products mailbox that I bought on eBay. Jim, made famous by Retro Renovation's blog post "Jim and Kathleen's little slice of 1960" Knoxville home, took pictures of his Sears mailbox and sent them to me with dimensions!
Our metal fabricator introduced me to Andy of Vector Product Development. Using SolidWorks 3D CAD Design Software, Andy built the base design models/drawings. Using GoToMeeting, we made real-time design changes with the ability to look at any view or cross section. Very cool!
During the process, we worked with the fabricator to ensure the modbox could be produced and identified opportunities to reduce cost. The guiding principal was to be true to the originals and keep the design simple.
Materials & Specifications
Crafted in America, the way it was in the 50s and 60s...
We are using 20 gauge cold rolled steel, the same as was done in the 50s-60s, which is 75% thicker than most mailboxes today.
We'll powder coat the mailbox inside and out, baking at 400 degrees. This method is more environmentally friendly than using baked enamel.
Anodized aluminum will be used for the flag cap and door pull, similar to the Sears version. Looks great with the color options!
The modbox measures 7" wide x 7.75" high x 21.25" long.
The post will be constructed of 1-1/4" hot rolled steel with an 11 gauge wall, powder coated, and 57.5" long. The metal mounting plate is 3.5" x 7.5" with holes that align with those on the bottom of the modbox. No ugly side mounting holes and screws!
The five color choices are original Eichler Exterior Accent Colors: Turquoise, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Eucalyptus, and Paprika.
The perfect compliment to modbox. These mid-century modern mailbox numbers were inspired from Richard Neutra's work, where he specified lettering that was open and unobtrusive, the same aesthetic that typified his architecture.
Font shop, House Industries consulted with Neutra's son Dion and studied the archives of acclaimed photographer Julius Shulman to bring the same linear geometry to Neutraface without sacrificing a warm and human feel.
I already have a metal fabricator lined up for production and powder coating of the mailbox and mailbox post. I've been working with them since December. They are located less than 20 miles away, which will help in resolving manufacturing issues quickly and insure our high standards for quality are met.
As soon as the campaign reaches its goal, I can give the go-ahead for the production of the tooling (signed purchase order). Considering the fabricator's production time estimate, production could be completed by the end of July. In part, this depends on their production queue and volume at the time.
SolidWorks 3D CAD Models - Andy McCloud, Vector Product Development
Video - Brady Lawrence
Risks and challenges
While production technology has improved since the 1950s, metal fabrication is never easy, but I'm confident in my ability to deliver a quality product on time. I've built a strong working relationship with the metal fabricator, who has been in business for over fifteen years, and has experience in both fabrication and final assembly.
There are always issues that can arise, but the risk has been managed by obtaining tooling quotes from the 3D CAD models and fabricating a shell assembly prototype. That said, there is the possibility of tooling issues that may need to be resolved.
Prior to modbox, I have no experience working with a metal fabricator. I'm sure that problems will come up, but I'm confident solutions can be found. During the development process, we've managed to find solutions to all the identified issues. However, from experience, this may take additional time.
The target delivery date is the first week in August. I will make every effort to meet this date, or even ship early, if possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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