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City Free Delivery

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Joseph Briggs

Joseph Briggs and the Free City Delivery

Free City Delivery began under the eye of Joseph Briggs, a Cleveland, Ohio, postal employee.

leather mailbag


The letter carrier's mailbag is an easily identifiable icon of the service.

black US Mail letter box

Household Mailboxes

Most American households did not have mailboxes before 1916, the year the Post Office Department made them mandatory.

wooden door knocker

The Postman Always Rang Twice

Before households had mailboxes, postmen really did ring twice to signal the mail's arrival.

photo of a mail carrier at a mailbox

Carriers and their Uniforms

Letter carriers' uniforms have changed over the years, but they continue to be easy to recognize. 

pneumatic mail tube

Pneumatic Tube Mail

Pneumatic tube service began in 1893 in Philadelphia, carrying mail underground at 35 miles per hour.