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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Postal Service


King Louis XI of France set up a Royal Postal Service in 1477 employing 230 mounted couriers.

The Royal Mail was created by King Henry VIII of England in 1516. From then until 1840, postage in the UK was generally paid by the recipient rather than the sender.

Poczta Polska, the Polish postal service, was founded by order of King Sigismund II Augustus on October 17, 1558.

Many early post systems consisted of fixed courier routes. The picture below shows a post house on a postal route in 19th century Finland.

The UK was the first country in the world to use a date stamp on its post when the Bishopmark — now known as the postmark — was introduced 355 years ago, in 1661. It got its name from the first Postmaster General, Colonel Henry Bishop, appointed to King Charles II, who said he wanted to guarantee ‘that no Letter Carrier may dare to detain a letter from post to post’.

Benjamin Franklin laid out the framework that would set up the American postal system. Franklin invested nearly 40 years to establish a reliable system of private communications in the colonies. He was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737 and then joint postmaster general of the colonies, a position he held until 1774 when he was fired for opening and publishing Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson's correspondence.

The U.S. postal system was established by the 2nd Continental Congress on July 26, 1775, with Benjamin Franklin as postmaster general.

In 1776 the Congress chose Benjamin Franklin's son-in-law to succeed him as postmaster general. Franklin had sailed that October for France on behalf of the Continental Congress.

The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, was signed by United States President George Washington on February 20, 1792.  Postage was 6 - 12 cents depending on distance.

The first mail carried by train traveled between Liverpool and Manchester on November 11, 1830.

The first pillar boxes in the UK come into use in St Helier, Jersey on November 23, 1852.

London's first pillar box was erected on the corner of Fleet St and Farringdon St. Green with 10 collections a day on April 11, 1855. Five other pillar boxes appeared in London that day.

Red became the official color of UK post boxes in 1874. The earliest boxes were green, to fit in with natural surroundings, but many people complained they couldn’t find them.

The Pony Express was a mail service that delivered messages, newspapers, mail, and small packages by horseback, keeping California in touch with the rest of the United States. Its 2,000 mile route from Sacramento, California, to St. Joseph, Missouri, had to cross the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains. The mail service began operation on April 3, 1860.

Though famous, the Pony Express was actually a failed venture that bled money and lasted only a mere 19 months.

There wasn't a single pony in the Pony Express, just horses.

Section 92 of the 1873 US Postal Laws and Regulations stated that mail deliveries be made "as frequently as the public convenience may require". Residential customers received mail two or three times a day until 1950 and some businesses received mail up to five times a day.

In the 1870s, the city of Li├Ęge, Belgium tried to train 37 cats to deliver the mail. The whole endeavor failed miserably.

In 1900 in London there were 11 postal deliveries per day and nine collections.

A hot air balloon was used to carry mail for the first time in 1859. John Wise left Lafayette, Indiana, for New York City with 100 letters. He was forced to land after only 27 miles.

After Black female postmaster Minnie Cox was wrongly pressured out of her post in Mississippi in 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt continued to pay her federal salary and punished the town by rerouting their mail to Greenville, 30 miles away.

In 1904, Laurie Island became the site of the first post office built in the Antarctic.

The "American Messenger Company" was started by two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan in 1907. The company's name was later changed to "United Parcel Service."

The first official flight with air mail took place in Allahabad, British India in 1911, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivered 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.

The world's first scheduled airmail post service took place in the United Kingdom between the London suburbs of Hendon and Windsor, Berkshire, on September 9, 1911.

The first airmail flight in Germany, 1912.

Up to June 13, 1920, parents had used the US postal service to post their children in order to save rail fares. On that date, sending children by Parcel Post was officially forbidden with the ruling that children are not "bees and bugs", the only postable livestock.

On March 20, 1922, the US Postmaster General ( Hubert Work ) ordered all homes to get mailboxes or relinquish delivery of mail.

The postmaster general's position was considered a plum patronage post for political allies of the president until the USPS was transformed into a corporation run by a board of governors in 1971.

ZIP Codes were introduced for United States mail in 1963.The ZIP in "ZIP code" (the US version of the postcode) means Zoning Improvement Plan.


In 2001, the German Post office began training courses to teach dog psychology to postmen. Figures showed that 3,000 postmen a year are bitten by dogs in Germany, leaving 2,255 pairs of torn trousers and $12 million (£8 million)  of medical bills.

In 2005, the Royal Mail admitted that Ascension Island in the South Atlantic had not received any post for three months because it had gone to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, by mistake.

There were 154,939 post offices in India in 2015, more than any other country.

Four out of five Americans throw sweepstakes mailings into the trash.

The world's deepest post box is in Susami Bay in Japan. It's 10 metres underwater.

The USPS carries 43% of the world's mail volume.

The US Postal Service handles 47% of the entire world's mail.

The US Postmaster General is the second highest paid US government official behind the president.

In Iceland, you can hand-draw a map on a piece of mail without an address, and it will still make it to its destination.

The Archangel Gabriel, bringer of messages, is patron saint of postal workers and the Post Office.

Sources Daily Mail, Daily Express

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