Machines or Bust

Post Office Dept. Research and Development, 1945-1970
Research Article
Post Office Department employees sorting mail.
Credit: Patrick S. McCabe, U.S. Postal Service

By Kevin Danchisko

At the end of the Second World War, the U.S. Post Office Department was faced with an enormous challenge. Through the Great Depression and the war, the Department had little funding available for upgrading equipment or organizational systems. After 1945, the nation began an extended period of population and economic growth. The Department's aging and decrepit equipment was challenged by the unprecedented growth in mail volume that accompanied this new prosperity. The nation needed a postal system that could meet its surging need. To answer that challenge the Department had to integrate new machines and systems into an organization that was second only to the military in scope and numbers. It would not be easy.