All posts by Flexpost

Brief History of the Mailbox

Physical mail is one of the oldest forms of communication. With the emergence and convenience of email, letters and mail are often thought as a declining and outdated way of communicating. However, physical mail shows no signs of slowing down. In 2016, almost 155 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the United States alone. Mailboxes have allowed us to continue to receive and deliver mail for over a century.

The Emergence of Mailbox

Prior to the 1850’s, mailboxes were extremely uncommon and hardly used. By the early 1860’s, Free City Delivery  made mailboxes essential. US citizens now enjoyed the luxury of having mail delivered directly to their home or business. An initial problem was that mailmen often had to wait extended periods of time for patrons to come the door and retrieve the mail. To solve this, people began installing residential mailboxes or letter boxes so mail could be collected without worry. Philip B. Downing is credited with inventing the letter box with a hinged door that protected the mail within. He was granted his patent on October 27th, 1891.

A few years later, the United States Postal Service (USPS) made it mandatory for homeowners and businesses have a mailbox outside to ensure mail was delivered and received. Mailboxes became more popular than letter boxes since the mail carrier no longer had to go to the physical outside of the house to place mail. Mailboxes allowed for quicker and efficient deliveries since the carrier can remains roadside while delivering.

Joroleman’s “Tunnel” Mailbox

Mailboxes, especially ones on rural routes, used to be homemade and created from old containers and insecure poles that were placed along the road.The USPS wanted mailboxes to be made of steel to improve durability. A  signal marker was also wanted to show the presence of outgoing mail to mail carriers. To accomplish both these wants, Post Office engineer Roy J. Joroleman constructed one of the most recognized mailbox designs in 1915 (See below). His famous “tunnel shape” mailbox was not patented to allow for competition between manufactures of mailboxes. The simplicity and effectiveness of the design has led to its popularity even to this day. The round shape allows mail and parcels of all sizes to fit within the mailbox and the flattened bottom side makes it easy to be secured to a pole.

flexible mailbox

A modern-day version of Joroleman’s original design.

Although mailboxes have been around for over a century, they have undergone little change because of Joroleman’s design and USPS’ guidelines to guarantee carrier safety and delivery efficiency. Per the USPS, some requirements are that residential mailboxes should be 41″-45″ from the road while being buried no more than 24″ deep. USPS also has specific engineering standards that manufactures must abide by. Residents are advised by the USPS to do an “annual checkup” on mailboxes to see if they are in fair condition.

The FlexMailbox™

General wear and tear of the mailbox and the mailbox post can be a result from snow, hail, and wind. However, some technology has advanced mailbox durability and design while staying within USPS’ guidelines. To make mailboxes more durable, we introduced the FlexMailbox™.

The FlexMailbox™ is a flexible mailbox post that is able to offer 360° flexibility when struck. The post returns fully upright after impacts with the help of carbon steel spring at the bottom of the post. The mailbox post is compatible with any standard mailbox and is installed in minutes.

The post can be mounted in asphalt, concrete, and into the ground. Regardless of how it is anchored, it will comply with US and Canadian regulations by standing at 42″. The FlexMailbox™ is designed to never be replaced.

products-flex-mailbox-animation

FlexMailbox™ in action.

 

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

FlexPost Inc. at the 2017 MISHE Annual Conference

2017 MISHE Annual Conference

FlexPost Inc. will be attending the Michigan Society for Healthcare Engineering (MISHE) Annual Conference from September 27th-September 28th in Traverse City, Michigan! MISHE aims to build and maintain safe, energy-efficient, and healthy buildings. Healthcare facilities managers, architects, engineers, and suppliers are the key to creating and implementing these strategies. This conference will enable healthcare professionals to network and learn how his or her facility can be improved through innovated technology and strategies!

We will be exhibiting at this conference at Booth #27! We will be introducing our FlexPost-XL™ and FlexPost-SM™ units to conference attendees. Stop by and say hi to us and leave your business card at our booth for a chance to win a free FlexPost® Standard!

 

MISHE

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

FlexPost Inc. & JMB Manufacturing Partnership

FlexPost Partners with JMB

We at FlexPost Inc. are happy to announce our partnership with JMB Manufacturing! Through this partnership, FlexPost products will now be available in Australia. We will kickoff our partnership with JMB at the 2017 Parking Australia Outlook show in Sydney, Australia from September 17th-18th! Both of our companies will have our products on display. This parking conference brings together those in parking from all industries and sectors to learn and converse about the newest developments and technologies in parking. We will be displaying with JMB at Booth #7! Stop by and say hello!

JMB Manufacturing

JMB is a premier manufacturer of road safety and car park safety products in Australia. Specializing in spring return products, JMB is able to help businesses reduce parking lot repair costs while protecting drivers and pedestrians. Reduced site attendance and replacement costs, reduced site damage, and increased road safety for pedestrians and workers are just a few benefits or JMB and their products. Portable signage, spring return sign posts, and bollards are among JMB’s product line. Learn more about JMB and their products here.

JMB has a strong commitment to creating environmentally sustainable products. All of the company’s operations comply or exceed current environmental legislation and codes of practice. The reduction of waste and efficient use of all materials, such as water, electricity, transportation mediums, etc, are a top priority at JMB. Everyone from management to employees are trained, educated, and informed on environmental practices and issues. See JMB’s full environmental policy here!

 Flexpost JMB

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry and company news!

The Invention of Windshield Wipers

History

Mary Anderson is credited for inventing windshield wipers for automobiles. In 1903, she was granted the patent for the device that removes “snow, rain, and sleet” from a vehicle. It is said that Anderson was inspired while she was traveling in a streetcar during the winter. The driver experienced difficulties seeing through his windshield under the snowy conditions. The driver had two options: Leave the glass down to clear his vision while exposing himself and his passengers to the cold and wet conditions. Or, stopping the vehicle and manually cleaning the windshield that would lead to delays and longer driving periods.

After many drawings and experiments, Anderson created rubber wipers that moved forward and back across the windshield via a lever and springs. The lever was located by the driver for easier accessibility.

Her invention was met with backlash and strong negativity. Critics claimed that the driver would be distracted while using the wipers and not be able to focus on the road. One company stated that they
“[did] not [even] consider it to be of such commercial value”.

Anderson reaped zero benefits from her invention before her patent expired. By the early 1920’s the automobile industry grew exponentially and windshield wipers became standard equipment for brands such as Cadillac. Eventually, Mary Anderson got the credit she deserved as she was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.

windshield wipers

Mary Anderson’s Original Patent Drawing  (Above)

 

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

The 1950’s Fifth Parking Wheel

Fifth Parking Wheel

Parallel parking is a nuisance for newly licensed and veteran drivers everywhere. Someone took notice of this issue and looked towards technology for a solution. As cars got larger and parking spaces got smaller, the “problem” of parallel parking increased.

How It Works

In the early 1930’s, Brooks Walker created a new elaborate solution for parallel parking by developing a fifth wheel solely designated for parking. This auxiliary wheel is hidden in a vehicle’s trunk and pushed down to the ground by hydraulic pumps and gears when needed. With a simple crank on the dashboard, the wheel would be lowered to the ground and swing the car around for easier parking. After the car is in its parking place, another switch would lower the car back into its original position.

The patent for this idea was filed by Walker on March 21st, 1932 and granted on December 6th of the same year. The patent describes the intricacies of the fifth wheel within the vehicle and its function. Several years later, Walker decided to modify a Packard Cavalier in 1953 to showcase his prototype to the world. The Packard represented luxury and appealed to the upper class. It was possible that Walker wanted to use this car and demographic to demonstrate how easy the system is to use and how anyone can be comfortable using it. All the driver had to do was flip switches on the dashboard.

Walker went on to display his innovation at various auto shows throughout the years. However, his novel concept was not received as successfully as he hoped. High production costs and the lack of trunk space led to his idea being shot down. His forward-thinking parking solution was not implemented on a large scale. His vision of easier parking has been achieved by the self-parking cars today.

parking

Photo taken from an issue of Life Magazine published in 1952.

Walker’s Packard Cavalier prototype (Above).

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

A Brief History on Smart Cities

Smart Cities

A 2014 report from the United Nations states that 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas and by 2050, that number is expected to grow to 66%. As the world becomes more urbanized the need for more efficient cities has also rose. The phrase “smart city” does not have a universal definition. However, smart cities are generally seen as municipalities that use or integrate various forms of technology to strengthen their assets and functions.  Transportation systems, public buildings, waste management or any other community services can be improved through information and communication technology. Smart city market segments (infrastructure, healthcare, energy, etc.) have an evaluated market potential of $1.5 trillion.

Smart City Components

A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan identified eight components of a smart city.

Singapore – The Smart Nation

In recent years, Singapore has emerged as one of the global leaders in instilling smart city technology throughout its country. This “smart nation” installed sensors across the country that collects data and gives feedback to its citizens. For example, these sensors are able to measure energy, water, and electricity consumption for each individual apartment or home. The government uses this aggregate information to enhance the public housing through better monitoring and maintenance.

Singapore Sensor

This is a district’s data that was obtained through sensors.

Being “Smart” in the United States

In October of 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a press release stating that $65 million in funds will be given to communities in to advance transportation projects. Former U.S. transportation secretary Anthony Foxx notes how “these grants…[will help] problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety”. Cities are given these funds in order to alleviate transportation related issues within their own communities. For example, Denver, Colorado will receive almost $6 million to reduce the congestion of 200,000 drivers each day. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, $11 million is given to the city to reduce traffic near street lights. The funds are used for road signal technology to reduce traffic “by up to forty percent”.

Smart City Parking

Parking in a smart city means that technology makes parking easier and more efficient than ever. Driving boards and sensors are installed in parking lots and spaces that allow drivers to know where empty parking spaces are as opposed to driving around the lot and searching one out. Mobile apps have become a popular way for drivers to overcome crowded parking lots and determine which roads and streets are the busiest. Knowing where traffic is and isn’t congested and which parking lots are full or empty are all available at one’s fingertips.

Parking garages are also becoming smarter by maximizing the space and safety with the use of automation (Click here for a brief history of parking garages). An automated parking garage allows a driver to park into a parking space quicker. In a smart parking garage in Germany, a robotic arm is able to transport vehicles to and from each parking space (See Below). When a driver wants to leave the garage, a robotic arm secures the entire parking space and lowers it to the ground.

ABOVE: This automated car parking system in Germany holds 1,000 cars. A large robotic arm transports parked vehicles.

 

FlexPost®’s Smart Thinking

At FlexPost®, we are becoming “smarter” and utilizing technology in every way possible. Our flexible sign posts and bollards allow businesses to reduce repair and maintenance fees to their parking lots and patron’s vehicles. We hope to advance parking lot technology by leaving u-channels and concrete bollards behind. The FlexPost-XL™ is one avenue in achieving this vision.

Our FlexPost-XL™ products have a unique base that guarantees longevity and flexibility. The base is galvanized coated steel and contains an internal 5/16″ thick steel spring that is held under compression. The increased surface area of the XL base allows the unit to remain more reliant to high speed winds and impacts than our standard unit which uses a torsion spring. The surface area of the base helps with stabilizing the entire FlexPost-XL™ unit. The individual components within this base allows the entire unit to remain virtually indestructible and extremely heavy-duty while still maintaining flexibility.  Below shows an exploded view of the FlexPost-XL™ base (Figure 1) and a view of the base in action (Figure 2).

Figure 1.

Flexpost xl

Figure 2.

 

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for updates on smart cities and parking industry news!

 

 

FlexPost Inc. at the 2017 IPI Show!

2017 IPI Convention and Expo

FlexPost Inc. will be at the 2017 International Parking Institute show in New Orleans, LA from May 22nd to May 24th! The 2017 IPI Convention and Expo connects over 3000 parking and transportation professionals from 35+ countries with one another. Innovative parking products and services, industry leaders and companies, and much more will be present at this four day long event.

We will be one of the 250+ exhibitors at the IPI show! We will be exhibiting at Booth 1052 showcasing our flexible sign posts and bollards. Our FlexPost-XL™ and FlexPost-SM™ units will be on display as well. Come and say hello to us and leave your business card at our booth for a chance to win a free FlexPost® Standard!

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956

History

Dwight D. Eisenhower was able to experience the benefits of fast-moving highways on two separate occasions– first, as Lt. Col. in the army. Lt. Col. Eisenhower volunteered to be a part of the United States’ first transcontinental convoy. This convoy was responsible for testing the mobility of the military by traveling from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. A few decades later, now a General, Gen. Eisenhower was starstruck by the highway systems of Europe while stationed in Germany. The first experience made him realize how difficult travel was due to poor road conditions and mechanical difficulties in the automobiles. The latter experience opened his eyes and showed him the endless benefits of having a united highway system.

When elected into office, President Eisenhower, on June 29th, 1956, signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. This law would established an intricate system of highways across that nation that would promote quick and safe travel across the United States. These multi-lane highways would reduce traffic-jams and limit the use of unsafe roads. Overpasses and underpasses replaced intersections to stimulate a constant flow of traffic. The federal government would be responsible for constructing the nationwide road system (See below) while funds were raised by an increased gasoline tax.

dothighway

Benefits not only extended to citizens and businesses, but for the government as well. Eisenhower saw the national highway system as a means to bolster the United States’ national defense. The highways would allow the US military to react and move quickly to any part of the country.

Support for the bill was astounding as the Senate voted 89 to 1 to approve the bill. The House would follow suit approve the bill and President Eisenhower turned the bill into law a few days after.

federal highway act

Above: The first construction of the Federal-Aid Highway Act began in Missouri.

Reaction

Congress’s overwhelming support for the Federal-Aid Highway Act was echoed by the American public. Americans were enamored with the notion of being able to travel cross-country easily and safely. The constructing of the highways put thousands of people to work. Those who worked in the actual construction of the highways benefitted but those who worked in industries remotely related saw a boom in business as well. Businesses near the highways, such as hotels and restaurants, began to pop up and flourish due to the new influx of customers.

Although most supported the law, those who opposed it had their reasons. The newly constructed roads drove people out of the construction areas and tore communities in half due to roads’ placement in certain cities. Activists began fighting back in cities such as New York and San Francisco. Activists did cause construction to halt in a handful of places but overall their movement did not recieve enough traction to stop construction entirely.

 High Five Dallas

Above: “High Five” interchange in Dallas,TX is one of the first five level stack interchanges.

Highways Today

As of 2015, (Per USDOT) there are

  • 263,610,219 state registered vehicles
  • 3,109,937 million miles traveled by vehicle
  • 164,000 miles of highway in the National Highway System
  • 218,084,465 licensed drivers in the United States
  • 132,242,542 thousand of gallons of fuel used on the highway system

NHS

Above: The entire United State’s National Highway System

 

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

Brief History of Parking Garages

History of Parking Garages

Parking garages were a result of the “automobile boom” of the early 1900’s. As the number of cars grew exponentially, the need for easy and accessible parking became higher and higher. Also, cars in these days were much more sensitive to weather. Maintaining a vehicle’s longevity was done by parking them inside. In these days, parking garages had two roles: providing parking for a driver and protecting the vehicle. Older parking garages relied on ramps to allow vehicles to ascend and descend to other floors. The ramps had to be constructed to be small enough to not reduce parking space but large enough to be separate floors of the garage. These parking garages also had parking attendants who were in charge of parking the guest’s vehicles for them.  Those who actually used the parking garages were not allowed to park their own cars.

Old Parking Garages

The D’Humy ramp system, shown above, used less space than previous garages by combining garages with smaller ramps and staggered floors. (Source) A few decades later, in the 1950’s, the construction of parking garages in the United States skyrocketed. Theses garages now allowed people to park their own cars close to a downtown area without any hassle. It was around this time when parking garages began to resemble the garages that we see today. The structures now include underground parking, more intricate designs, and engineering that made parking much easier. Today, internal ramps are still the most common way for vehicles to move between levels due to its simplicity. However, technology has allowed for other solutions.

 

Parking Garages Miami

Above: An innovative and stylish car park located in Miami, FL.(Source)

Automated Parking Systems

Automatic vehicle parking is somewhat rare, but a viable way to move cars between floors nonetheless. Automated parking systems allow better protection for the vehicles since they are separated from one another and difficult to access. These systems also allow for drivers to park their cars and find them more quickly due the layout of the system.  One downfall of automated systems comes down to technical failure. If the system malfunctions during peak parking hours, drivers will not be able to utilize the parking structure as quickly as before or even not at all.

Below: This automated car parking system in Germany holds almost 1,000 cars. A large robotic arm transports vehicles to and from each parking space. (Source) See a video of this automated parking system here.

Automated Parking Garage

Parking garages are a staple for any major city’s downtown area. The ability to maximize parking in a limited amount of space while generating revenue benefits consumers and businesses.

 

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!

FlexPost-SM™ & HDPE

Polyethylene

Our FlexPost-SM™ product line is composed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Polyethylene, (C2H4)n,is one of the most produced plastics in the world. Trash bags, tubes, and bottles are all created using polyethylene. Specifically, high-density polyethylene is used in milk bottles, children’s toys, and cutting boards. HDPE is stiffer and stronger than other types of polyethylene because of its high crystalline structure. The high crystalline structure results from a lack of branches that allow polymer chains to stick closely to one another during the production process.

Similar to other great discoveries, polyethylene was produced on accident in the late 1800’s. However, mass production and true appreciation of polyethylene would be seen many decades later. During World War II, polyethylene was used secretly as an insulating material for military radar. Over the next few years, the secret of polyethylene got out and was produced commercially. Production and demand grew exponentially due to its strength, impact-resistance, and durability.

HDPE No Logo

How it’s made

Polyethylene is produced by cracking naphtha in crude oil. Cracking is simply using heat to break down hydrocarbons.  Ethylene is released through this heating process. The gas is then liquified and pushed through small holes of a plate. While solidifying, the polyethylene is cut into small pieces that will be eventually melted down to be used in various products. The density of polyethylene can be manipulated by applying varying degrees of pressure during the production process. Higher density polyethylene is created by applying lower pressure while lower density polyethylene results from higher pressure.

polyethylene

 

 

 

Solid polyethylene (Photo Source)

 

 

 

FlexPost-SM™ (HDPE)

The rigid nature of HDPE allows our products to remain light weight yet extremely strong and flexible even after repeated collisions with a vehicle. Our products are able to withstand impacts of up to 60 miles per hour due to the strength and durability of polyethylene. The HDPE in our guideposts and delineator paddles is not only impact-resistant but UV-resistant. This allows our products to remain in direct sunlight without becoming brittle or weak.

Follow us on Twitter (@Flexpost_Inc) and like us on Facebook (FlexPost Inc) for more parking industry news and history!


Fatal error: Call to undefined function twentythirteen_paging_nav() in /home/flexpost/public_html/wp-content/themes/flexpost/author.php on line 52