SOUTHINGTON — Gary Celella Jr., a local electrician, is close to marketing a “plow-proof” mailbox that he designed and tested by hitting it with a board sticking out of a truck going 46 miles per hour.
The patent-pending mailbox is designed with an outdoor spring hinge that allows it to snap back when hit with snow from a plow and then return to its position atop a post.
“They’ll take a beating,” Celella said. “All of you guys in New England know how plows damage mailboxes. This is how to prevent that.”
He can’t recall how he came up with the idea to fix a common winter complaint. While he’s sold other products he’s designed, such as child-sized picnic tables, Celella said this will be the first item he’s patented.
His company, Mailbox Kings, will sell several styles and decorations, allowing people to customize their mailboxes with sports logos, reflectors, seasonal designs and custom messages.
Some of his prototypes are already around town with friends and relatives.
Judy Montague, a life-long town resident and Celella’s aunt, said hers suffered no damage during the recent storm. The Garden Street resident said that in previous storms, the snow moved by plows loosened the post in the ground.
She called Celella’s design “clever” and added that he’s often building things.
“He missed his calling, he should have been an inventor,” Montague said.
Celella, who also works for Precision Property Management, demonstrated the mailboxes in the company’s garage on Prospect Avenue. It’s also where he’s built them, testing one by sticking it in a bucket of cement and bashing it with a board.
The board broke before the mailbox did.
Celella submitted his patent more than a month ago. He’ll be making both wood and vinyl versions, as well as one with a spring in the ground that allows the entire post and mailbox to absorb the force of snow.
Celella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org