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"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Herodotus

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, 1971

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, letter carriers knocked on the door and waited patiently for someone to answer. Efficiency experts estimated that each carrier lost an hour and a half each day just waiting for patrons to come to the door. To gain back those precious hours, in 1923 the Post Office Department mandated that every household have a mailbox or letter slot to receive mail. Here's one from Crown City, Ohio.

Arago: Household Mailboxes

Pony Express Riders

pony express - yahoo Image Search Results

Rural letter carrier peers out of his sleigh while making his daily rounds. Rural carriers in cold winter climates often kept sleighs for winter use, in addition to their mail wagons. Such expenses were sometimes hardship for rural carriers, who were (and still are) responsible for purchasing their own vehicles.

Viewliner Ltd.: Rural Free Delivery

Rural Post Office (from "Systems at Work" exhibit).

Systems at Work

A Postman Hides

Thank a Mailman Day! February 4

Mailman holds a baby while he rings a doorbell

Mailman holds a baby while he rings a doorbell

This is a sad memorial - In New York City, 1944, piles of Christmas packages meant for American Servicemen who have been listed as missing or killed in action build up and await a Return to Sender stamp.

Postman taking a break and resting -photo taken somewhere between 1920 and 1930

Authentic Antique Horse Drawn Carriage - U.S. Rural Mail Delivery Coach Circa 1901

Postman and pillar box, late 1850s by British Postal Museum & Archive.