Yesterday's Mail: A Brief History of the United States Post Office

The United States Postal Service (USPS) stops at every home in the United States six days a week. It visits 144 million households and delivers 212 billion pieces of mail every year. Making that happen is a real logistics issue – but the government didn't build the postal service overnight.

Once Upon a Time in 1775

On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the beginnings of the U.S. postal service when it named postmaster generals – one of whom was Benjamin Franklin. Before this, people typically deposited and picked up mail at inns and taverns across the country. Franklin was instrumental in improving the mail system in the United States. He established a more efficient route system and worked out a relay so mail could move through the colonies quicker than ever before.

Establishing Post Offices

Franklin’s systems worked well, but as the population expanded outward from colonial town centers, they needed new methods to keep up with demand. Stagecoaches serviced heavily traveled routes, which also allowed them to transport large quantities of mail at once, but the postal service needed a different solution for sparse, more western routes: a combination of horseback and physical post office outposts. In 1788, there were already 75 mail stations that served a United States population of nearly four million people.

Pony Express

By 1860, people lived spread over the entire U.S. The government established more post offices so settlers could receive communications from across the country, but mail could take months to arrive at its destination. The postal service created express stations 10 miles apart to give riders a fresh horse at each outpost. To send something from New York to California, it would require a boat to Panama, a journey across the strait and another boat ride north. So-called Pony Express couriers were able to make the journey in less than 20 days.

New Technologies

The USPS continued to operate similarly for the next several decades, only changing the modes of transportation. In 1910, the post office started using cars for some of its routes, and by 1911, it began using planes. The postal service brought motorcycles into service by 1915. The USPS even experimented with Missile Mail (which it ultimately scrapped). By the 1960s, the postal service began using machines to do many tasks that had previously required people, such as sorting mail – but that was just the beginning.

In 1997, the postal service debuted 100 handling robots to sort and load letters, and the involvement of technology only mushroomed from there. The USPS now uses robots to evaluate barcodes and track packages – often referred to as intelligent mail. What the future holds remains to be seen. 
While the USPS has made strides over the years, they have never truly adapted to the evolving needs of the American consumer. Enter myMailHouse. myMailHouse offers consumers a secure and eco-friendly solution to send and receive physical mail. With myMailHouse you never have to worry that your mail will land in the wrong hands. Why spend your precious time printing and paying for postage the old fashion way, try myMailHouse today!

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