The Postal Service celebrates many anniversaries in July. Here’s a look at six notable milestones, courtesy of “The list.”
1. First stamps. In July 1847, the Post Office Department — the precursor to USPS — issued its first postage stamps. Previously, postal employees would note letter postage due or paid in the upper right corner of mailpieces.
2. Giddy up. The Pony Express changed from a private express service to a U.S. Mail route under contract with the Post Office Department in July 1861.
3. Free delivery. In July 1863, free city delivery was established at major Post Offices. Before this change, customers picked up mail at Post Offices or paid a fee for each letter delivered.
4. Airmail. July 1924 saw the first regularly scheduled, transcontinental airmail service with night flying. Flights from New York to San Francisco took 1 day, 10 hours and 20 minutes.
5. ZIP Codes. In July 1963, the Zoning Improvement Plan Code (ZIP Code) launched, with a five-digit code assigned to every address in the nation to better sort and deliver mail.
6. POD to USPS. The Postal Service officially began operations as an independent establishment of the executive branch in July 1971.
For more notable dates, check out the usps.com postal history section. Got ideas for future editions of “The list”? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.