DC -- Natl Postal Museum -- Exhibit (MIA Galleries 1): Moving the Mail:
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MOVING_071211_05.JPG: Grumman Corporation's Long Life Vehicle, or LLV
Long Life Vehicle:
After the 1950s tests, the next revolution in postal vehicle service came in the 1980s. By then, even the sturdiest jeeps were showing their age. This time, officials decided to have their vehicles made to order. They provided potential contractors with a list of requirements, and challenged each to build the best carrier vehicle from scratch.
Vehicles were tested in Laredo, Texas in what one postal official called "the most grueling test of a government vehicle this side of the M-1 tank." Grumman Corporation's Long Life Vehicle, or LLV, emerged victorious. Now a staple of American neighborhoods, the boxy LLVs began service in 1986. This LLV was the first such vehicle produced for the Postal Service. These right-hand drive vehicles continue to make up the bulk of the postal fleet, as 142,236 LLVs help deliver the mail every day.
MOVING_071211_07.JPG: Collection Box:
In addition to delivering the mail, carriers collect mail from collection boxes along their routes at pre-determined times. This mail is carried by vehicle back to the post office and placed into the mail stream.
Collection boxes first appeared in the early 20th century as package boxes that were placed alongside post-mounted letter boxes. In 1931, package boxes were renamed large collection boxes and began to appear on sidewalks without a separate letter box. They slowly replaced post-mounted boxes. By the 1960s, this now-familiar shape could be spotted on street corners across the U.S.
A New Design on Mail Volume:
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Post Office Department was finally able to purchase 3,247 new trucks. Post-war booms in business and employment fueled an increase in mail volume. More mail flowing into individual mailboxes meant more mail toted by the carriers.
Growing suburban sprawl added to the complexity of the challenge facing the Department after the war. City mail delivery systems were strained to the point of breaking and letter carriers to the point of exhaustion. A new approach was needed to keep mail moving quickly and efficiently.
MOVING_071211_17.JPG: 1931 Ford Model A Parcel Post Mail Truck:
In 1931, the Post Office Department acquired 1,000 Ford Model A mail trucks. The Metropolitan Body Corporation produced the body, constructed principally of oak. Ford Motor Company built the chassis. These trucks were used mostly for Parcel Post Service. Their cargo was packages too bulky or heavy for letter carriers' pouches. These packages were delivered separately from the rest of the mail, an extra expense of time and effort.
"The credit for the longevity of this vehicle goes to the drivers, and the US Post Office mechanics and maintenance garagemen of those times." -- Walter Kalavesky, Post Office Department mechanic.
MOVING_071211_23.JPG: Owens Box:
This mailbox style was the last one used by the Post Office Department that was designed to attach to a pole or a lamppost. The original mailbox design of this style was created by David Owens, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin postmaster. Mail from these boxes was collected by opening the drop bottom section. Although the Post Office Department last purchased this style of mailbox in 1955, some can still be spotted today in areas around the country.
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Description of Subject Matter: Moving the Mail
July 30, 1993 – Permanent
Level 1: Mail in America Galleries
Faced with the challenge of moving the mail quickly, the postal service looked to trains, automobiles, airplanes, and buses to deliver the mail, all of which are the focus of the museum's 90-foot-high Atrium gallery.
* Mail by Rail: After the Civil War, postal officials began to take advantage of railway trains for moving and sorting the mail. Sorting the mail while it was being carried between towns was a revolutionary approach to mail delivery, involving generations of devoted postal employees who worked as railway mail clerks.
* Owney: Mascot of the Railway Mail Service Owney was a stray mutt who wandered into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. He began to ride with the bags on trains across the state—and then the country. In 1895 Owney traveled with mailbags on steamships to Asia and across Europe before returning to Albany. He was beloved by Railway Mail Service clerks, who adopted him as their unofficial mascot.
* Networking a Nation: Star Route Service: Some of the most ambitious movers of the mail were not railway mail clerks, aviators, or even postal employees, but were Star Route contractors. Star Routes were established in 1845 when the Postal Service began hiring contractors to use the most appropriate and efficient methods of transportation to carry the mail. The name "Star Routes" came about because postal clerks became weary of writing "Celerity, Certainty, and Security" over and over again in the contract books and began using "***" instead. These routes have been covered by all modes of transportation from stagecoaches, trucks, and planes to less conventional means, such as dog sleds, showshoes, and bare feet. "Star Routes" were renamed "Highway Contract Routes" in 1970, but are still known by their original name today. On view are a 1850s Concord-style stagecoach and a full-size semi truck cab-cutaway.
* On the Road: Motorizing the Mail: This section dis ...More...
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2007 photos: Equipment this year: I used the Fuji S9000 almost exclusively except for the period when it broke and I had to send it back for repairs. In August, I bought a Canon Rebel Xti, my first digital SLR (vs regular digital) which I tried as well but I wasn't that excited by it.
Trips this year: Two weeks down south (including Graceland, Shiloh, VIcksburg, and New Orleans), a week at a time share in Costa Rica over my 50th birthday, a week off for a family reunion in the Wisconsin Dells (with sidetrips to Dayton, Springfield, and Madison), a week in San Diego for the Comic-Con with a side trip to Michigan for two family reunions, a drive up to Niagara Falls, a couple of weekend jaunts including the Civil War Preservation Trust Grand Review in Vicksburg, and a December journey to three state capitols (Richmond, Raleigh, and Columbia). I saw sites in 18 states and 3 other countries this year -- the first year I'd been to more than two other countries since we lived in Venezuela when I was a little toddler.
Ego strokes: A photo that I took at the National Archives was used as the author photo on the book jacket for David A. Nichols' "A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution." I became a volunteer photographer at both Sixth and I Historic Synagogue and the Civil War Preservation Trust (later renamed "Civil War Trust")..
Number of photos taken this year: 225,000.