Depending on which part of the world you live in, a mailbox may be called a letter box, a mail slot, or a post box. A mailbox is a large collection box for mailing letters. The collection box is in a public place and letters are left in it for collection by a mail carrier. Mailboxes are also used for receiving mail; receiving mailboxes are usually private and are typically smaller in size.
Mail slots are typically found on the front door of homes and businesses; they usually have horizontal openings covered with a metal flap. In some cases a container may be mounted on the inside to catch the mail. Otherwise, the mail just ends up on the floor. Mail slots are popular in the United Kingdom, but it is not uncommon to find them in many suburban areas throughout the United States.
Another common type of mailbox for suburban or rural areas in both the United Kingdom and the United States is the letter box. Letter boxes are usually mounted on a pole, and are typically at the end of a driveway or path leading up to the home. They can be made of any number of materials, ranging from aluminum or wood to steel. Letter boxes eliminate the need for the mail carrier to walk long distances to the front door of homes. The letter boxes may be designed with or without locks, and may also include a semaphore arm to let the mail carrier know there is outgoing mail.
Mounted Mailboxes for Houses
In metropolitan areas, the most popular type of mailbox is either mounted to the exterior wall of a home, just outside the front door, or just inside the front door of an apartment building. Home mailboxes come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, and are typically designed with covers.
Mounted Mailboxes for Apartments
Apartment building mail boxes may consist of several rectangular mailboxes, each with its own individual lock. Depending on the number of boxes, the mail carrier may have one key that opens the entire facade for quick distribution or they may have a master key that opens each individual mailbox. If a mailbox is mounted on the outside of an apartment building, they are typically constructed with secure locks.