Senior Philatelist of India Sudhir Jain is in USA on a tour.He send some beautiful photographs of Letter boxes being used in US.Jain will write more articles about interesting aspects of philately in USA for readers of Philamirror .Despite of IT revolution Letter box is still relevant and proved its utility.Many countries including India recognized this utility and released stamps on letter boxes time to time.
Private letterboxes or mail slots did not become popular in most of Europe until the mid to late 19th century, although they were used in France from the late 18th century.In 1849, the British Post Office first encouraged people to install letterboxes to facilitate the delivery of mail. Before then, letterboxes of a similar design had been installed in the doors and walls of post offices for people to drop off outgoing mail. An example of such a wall box (originally installed in the wall of the Wakefield Post Office) is dated 1809 and believed to be the oldest example in Britain.In the late 18th century, a mailbox was set up at the current location of Boxtree Rd. and Lewis Rd in New York. It is the oldest recorded mailbox in the US..In 1863, with the creation of Free City Delivery, U.S. postal carriers began delivering mail to home addresses. During the nineteenth and early 20th centuries, mailmen knocked on the door and waited patiently for someone to answer.
Efficiency experts estimated that each mailman lost 1.5 hours each day just waiting for patrons to come to the door. Slowly, homeowners and businesses began to install mail slots (letterboxes) to receive mail when they were either not at home or unable to answer the door.To reduce the time required for the mail carrier to complete delivery when the front door is some distance from the street, it was proposed that individual residential or commercial mailboxes be mounted curbside on suitable posts or other supports, particularly in rural areas. In the U.S.A, curbside mailboxes were originally seen as a method of solving the problem of delivering mail with limited numbers of mail carriers using horse-drawn wagons (and later, motor vehicles) to many widely-scattered rural customers.
In 1915, the familiar U.S. curbside Joroleman mailbox with its curved, tunnel-shaped top (to prevent water and snow collection), latching door, and movable signal flag was designed by U.S. Post Office employee Roy J. Joroleman, who held a degree in mechanical engineering.
In order to promote uniformity, as well as the convenient and rapid delivery of the mail, the USPS retained the authority to approve the size and other characteristics of all mail receptacles, whether mailboxes or mail slots, for use in delivery of the U.S. mails, and issued specifications for curbside mailbox construction for use by manufacturers. Approved mailboxes from the latter are always stamped U.S. Mail and Approved by the Postmaster General .In 2001, the USPS first approved designs for locking curbside mailboxes to stem a rise in mail and identity theft. With these secure designs, the incoming mail is placed into a slot or hopper by the mail carrier, where it drops into a secure locked compartment for retrieval by the homeowner (who retains the only key or combination to the lock).
Apart from creating a new corporate identity for the India Post and generating advertising revenue it will serve as an icon signifying the changes that are taking place at India Post.
It will represent the department’s efforts to reinvent itself with many upgraded services as also new innovative ones like e-post, e-bill post, greeting post, international money transfer, instant money order, speed post passport service etc.