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Old 02-17-2019, 12:56 PM
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While the Pony Express did deliver mail, it was never part of the U.S. postal service.

Contrary to popular belief, the rugged Pony Express was a trailblazing mail and private service that took on the difficult task of bringing mail through the Wild West before the U.S. postal service got there. The Express was in business for a year and a half, from April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861. Scrappy riders—'orphans preferred,' a help-wanted ad stated—ferried letters from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco, galloping through the Great Plains, the Rockies, and the High Sierras.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:00 PM
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American newspapers largely owe their existence to the post office.

As part of the Post Office Act of 1792, newspapers—which were seen by the Founding Fathers as essential for maintaining an educated citizenry by spreading information—were permitted to be mailed at extremely low rates. The result: By the start of the 19th century, newspapers made up the bulk of the U.S. mail. In 1840, 91 percent of white American adults could read, and this impressive literacy rate was attributed in part to the widespread availability of newspapers.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:05 PM
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The same Post Office Act imposed the harshest of penalties—death!—on mail thieves.

Because the U.S. mail was the only official way to send money, this severe punishment was less a reflection of the government’s cruelty and more an indication of the importance of safe postal delivery. Congress soon reconsidered, and in 1799, stealing mail for first-time offenders was punishable by a public whipping and a prison sentence of up to 10 years. However, second offenders were still subject to death, which was unchanged until 1872.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:08 PM
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Until the mid-19th century, recipients—not senders—usually had to pay for postage on the letters they received.

As a result, people tended to refuse so many letters in order to escape paying for them, which caused the post office to spend an inordinate amount of time returning mail to senders. Postage stamps—which were prepaid—were introduced in America in 1847 and eliminated this problem.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:13 PM
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Everyone had to go to the post office to get mail—until the Civil War helped change one man’s mind.

In 1863, Free City Delivery—i.e., free delivery of mail at your home—was first launched in Cleveland. Joseph Briggs, a postal clerk in that Ohio city, is said to have come up with the idea over the previous winter when he saw so many women customers who were forced to wait in long lines at the post office, freezing and fretting, since the only way to get news of their loved ones fighting in the war was via the mail. His Free City Delivery was such a success that it quickly spread to other cities before becoming a national norm. What’s more, Civil War veterans got dibs on applying for the newly-created mail carrier jobs. One other postal innovation prompted by the Civil War: money orders, so that Union soldiers could send their money home safely.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:16 PM
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After the U.S. president, the postmaster general is the next highest-paid federal government employee.

The U.S. president earns a base salary of $400,000 a year; the postmaster general gets a base salary of $276,840. As a result, she—the current officeholder is Megan Brennan, the first woman in history to hold the job—out-earns the U.S. vice president, who makes $243,500.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:21 PM
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The U.S. Postal Service has no official motto.

Many people believe that the U.S. mail’s motto is this phrase: 'Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.' Yes, it’s true that those are the words engraved on the front of New York City’s majestic 1912 James A. Farley Post Office, but they were taken from a 5th-century, BC, book by the Persian historian Herodotus. They refer not to America’s stalwart men and women in blue but to messengers in the ancient Persian Empire (who wore … purple? pink?). This quote was selected by an employee at McKim, Mead, and White, the architectural firm that built the post office, and set in stone in the post office—and in people’s minds. How’s this for a bizarre post office fact—people used to be able to ship babies through the US Postal Service!

Last edited by Lee Stewart; 02-17-2019 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:27 PM
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One of the most overlooked, yet most significant innovations of the early 20th century might be the Post Office’s decision to start shipping large parcels and packages through the mail. While private delivery companies flourished during the 19th century, the Parcel Post dramatically expanded the reach of mail-order companies to America’s many rural communities, as well as the demand for their products. When the Post Office’s Parcel Post officially began on January 1, 1913, the new service suddenly allowed millions of Americans great access to all kinds of goods and services. But almost immediately, it had some unintended consequences as some parents tried to send their children through the mail.

“It got some headlines when it happened, probably because it was so cute,” United States Postal Service historian Jenny Lynch tells Smithsonian.com. Just a few weeks after Parcel Post began, an Ohio couple named Jesse and Mathilda Beagle “mailed” their 8-month-old son James to his grandmother, who lived just a few miles away in Batavia. According to Lynch, Baby James was just shy of the 11-pound weight limit for packages sent via Parcel Post, and his “delivery” cost his parents only 15 cents in postage (although they did insure him for $50). The quirky story soon made newspapers, and for the next several years, similar stories would occasionally surface as other parents followed suit.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:34 PM
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Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:42 PM
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If you could drive your car straight up you would arrive in space in just over an hour.
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