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All Systems at Work

Each day the United States Postal Service processes hundreds of millions of pieces of mail and delivers to over 150 million addresses. At the center of this bustling postal network are more than a hundred Processing and Distribution Centers spread across the United States.

This video shows letters, catalogs, magazines, and parcels make their way through these centers. Click the "full-screen" button ( full screen icon ) in the lower right corner of the above video to watch full-screen.
[View captioned video]

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The Carrier Sequence Barcode Sorter (CSBCS)

The CSBCS is an automated machine that sorts the mail through the barcode to an individual letter carrier’s mail route.

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The Multi-Position Letter Sorting Machine (MPLSM)

MPLSM operators used 20-key keyboards to type in two or three numbers from the ZIP code, so the machine could then sort the mail into one of 277 or more bins representing sections of the country. These operators sorted mail at rates of 60 letters per minute.

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Throwing Mail Into Bags

Postal workers sorted some mail by tossing it into bags. This short, 57-second, silent video was produced by the "American Mutoscope & Biograph Company" in 1903. Notice the stage backdrop painted to resemble the interior of a post office.

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Exhibit-Related Videos

Why Stamps Were Invented

This animated video, used for the National Postal Museum's Stamps and Stories gallery in 1993, offers a whimsical look at why stamps were created.

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Delivering To You

This video, used in the National Postal Museum’s video gallery offers a look at how mail was processed at the turn of the century.

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River of Mail

River of Mail is a nine-minute video produced by the Post Office Department in the late 1960s to teach the public about mail processing methods used during that decade.

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“Swingin' Six” ZIP Code Video

“Swingin' Six” ZIP Code Campaign Public Service Announcement Video produced by the Post Office Department, mid-1960s. [Transcript: Transcript icon]

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On The Road

On The Road chronicles the use of motorized vehicles to move mail within America's towns and cities.

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