Posted on July 1, 2015
I couldn't find the “why” postal workers and postage stamps are being honored today, July 1, rather than some other day, but several sources claim that July 1 is both National Postal Worker Day AND U.S. Postage Stamp Day.
It would be a perfect time to recognize your postal carrier with a small gift in your mailbox. It would also be a great time to discover the fun of stamp collecting and the beauty of commemorative stamps.
I found some commemorative stamps honoring poet Maya Angelou and architect Robert Robinson Taylor, remembering the Civil War, and celebrating gifts of friendship between Japan and the U.S. – plus more.
Here are some facts about postal workers and postage stamps:
- Many postal carriers walk from four to eight miles a day – while carrying heavy bags of letters and packages – in all sorts of weather!
- Of course, some postal carriers deliver mail while driving mail trucks. Or deliver mail in some other way, like mule train at the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, or by boat in several places.
- The postal service moves mail using planes, trains, trucks, cars, boats, ferries, helicopters, subways, float planes, hovercraft, mules, bicycles, and of course feet!
- The longest rural delivery route is in Oklahoma; the carrier travels more than 187 miles a day!
- These days a letter traveling across the country, from NYC to San Francisco, takes less than seven hours, but in 1900 it took four and a half days, and in 1850 it took four weeks up to several month.
|Of course, in the 1800s, carrying mail across|
the country was dangerous as well as time-consuming.
(Notice the man next to the driver - he's using a rifle,
perhaps against a large animal, or attacking I
|The Pony Express carried letters (not packages)|
across the country in less than two weeks.
This service operated at a loss and only lasted
for 18 months.
- The U.S. Postal Service processes millions of letters per day! Like, more than 500 million! (That's almost 6,000 pieces of mail processed per second!)
- Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service receives ZERO tax dollars for its operations?
- Before 1863, postage paid only for the delivery of mail from one Post Office to another Post Office. People mailing letters and packages would take their mail to the nearest Post Office (as people often do today), and people also had to go to the Post Office to get their mail. Some people and businesses hired private delivery firms to get their mail for them.
In 1863 the Postmaster General suggested free city delivery, which was being used in England, and Congress agreed. By the next year, free city delivery had been established in 65 cities across the country. By 1900, this service had been extended to 796 cities nationwide.
- Originally the postal carriers hand-delivered the mail to their customers – if the person named on the envelope wasn't home, the letter remained in the carrier's bag, to be delivered later. But in the early 1900s, people created letter slots and mail boxes. This helped make mail delivery much, much more efficient, since hand-delivery meant that letter carriers had to wait an average of 30 minutes to an hour each and every day just standing at doors waiting to see if anybody was home!
- In the first half of the twentieth century (1900s), mail was delivered to homes twice a day in most towns and cities, and it was delivered to businesses up to four times a day! But in 1950 the second delivery to homes was ended in most places; the additional deliveries to businesses were also phased out over the next few decades.
- In the past, carriers used to walk 22 miles a day, carrying up to 50 pounds of mail at a time, working 9 to 11 hours a day six days a week (and sometimes part of Sunday as well). Now U.S. postal carriers have a 40-hour workweek and may only carry up to 35 pounds at a time.
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