City Free Delivery

Joseph Briggs

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

City carrier's leather mailbag

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

black US Mail letter box

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

wooden door knocker

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

photo of a mail carrier at a mailbox

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

pneumatic mail tube

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