In these times of same day shipping, digital downloads, and drone drop-offs, the strangely shaped box at the end of your driveway may seem nearly irrelevant. But there was a time when the mailbox reigned supreme as the paragon of post; it was truly revolutionary, changing the history of written correspondence forever. Join Valley Forge Cupolas as we delve into a brief history of the mailbox!
Though many trace the invention of the mailbox back to the United States Postal Service in the early 1860s, its true origin is transatlantic. A decade before the U.S. adaptation, there was a British precursor to the USPS called the Royal Mail. In an effort to improve efficiency, the Royal Mail encouraged residents to install boxes on their properties for mail drop off and retrieval. And so began the history of the mailbox.
Things took a bit longer to materialize stateside, but the path to post efficiency began in 1863 with a program called Free City Delivery. Before its inception, folks were forced to travel to the nearest post office to send or receive any form of correspondence. Free City Delivery was a game changer, sparing U.S. citizens frequent trips to and from the Post Office in favor of a convenient residential delivery service, completely free of charge.
Though groundbreaking and time-saving, the Free City Delivery service was far from perfect. Its Achilles heel was door-to-door delivery; U.S. Postmen would travel from home to home, knocking on each door and waiting for residents to answer, accept incoming mail, and send off outgoing mail. Devoted to their duties, couriers would often wait up to ten minutes or more for folks to answer the door. This kind of lost time was deemed unacceptable to the USPS, and the door-to-door system was discarded soon after.
In 1903, after various unofficial 3rd party attempts at mailbox systems, the USPS solved its Free City Delivery downsides once and for all by officially introducing the mailbox. No longer hampered by high wait times, postmen were free to breeze through their routes with ease and efficiency. The new system was admired by citizens as well, who no longer needed to be available during brief delivery windows. And there you have it; spanning decades of trial and error, the mailbox system became a staple of the USPS, and has survived to this very day.
When all else is moving at the speed of light, it seems like snail mail is doomed to fail - is there any chance of a pulse for the post? Why not give the USPS your vote of confidence with a custom, handcrafted mailbox from Valley Forge Cupolas? Completely customizable by style and color, our mailboxes feature a beautiful blend of form and function guaranteed to breathe some life into your streetside ensemble. Go ahead; brighten your delivery person’s day - pick up a custom, handcrafted mailbox from Valley Forge Cupolas today!
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