Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Era of Trust

This is one of five quarter-size delivery models for the Post Office Department’s official approval. This particular one is in the Smithsonian Museum’s collection.

Many technologies have come and gone during the existence of the Postal Service, but there’s one thing that remains a constant: the importance of our letter and rural carriers. The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has recently unveiled a new website that goes into detail about the history of Rural Free Delivery and the rural carrier.
In the 19th century, many families in hard to reach areas of the country had to make lengthy, infrequent trips to receive their mail, including news publications on current events. When Rural Free Delivery was established as a pilot program in 1896, such excursions became a thing of the past as rural mail delivery connected these families with the rest of the world on a regular basis. By the time Rural Free Delivery was adopted as a permanent part of the Postal network in 1902, rural carriers had quickly become a welcomed site to isolated families across the countryside.
Becoming a rural carrier was not an easy decision. Each rural carrier was required to buy their own clothing, transportation, and any equipment they might need to carry out their duties. After such expenses, some rural carriers began looking for ways to produce supplementary income. This fact was immediately picked up by manufacturers salivating at an opportunity to increase sales. Businesses began targeted advertising campaigns aimed at promoting ways for rural carriers to earn extra cash. Manufacturers also created specialized versions of their products such as modified wagons, heaters and uniforms (though none were required) to appeal to the growing ranks of the rural carrier.
Beyond delivering the mail, it was the task of rural carriers to instruct their patrons on the type, size and location of their mailbox. Many creative versions of homemade mailboxes presented a challenge for rural carriers. Oil cans, used tins, and random boxes found in the barn were often poor and sometimes messy substitutes for functional mail receptacles. Mailbox standardization in the early 20th century made the task of delivering mail a much easier one.
While technology and equipment have changed many times over the years, the dedication of our letter and rural carriers to quality service hasn’t. For more information on the history of rural carriers and Rural Free Deliver, go to:
What technology do you think could be used for mail delivery in the future?


Anonymous said...

Rural Free Delivery? Its not that anymore,its all about the money. Even though the Post Office was created as an entity that would provide service to all Americans as a "Not for Profit" no longer is that. So when "Free" is used in conjunction with any word that links it to the Post Office it seems wrong.

Exhume said...

Perhaps the "R" is a typo and nowadays it should read "Rural Fee Delivery"...anyway to make a buck.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the above statements.Its not about the customer ,its about the money