29¢ Stamps and Barcodes
National Postal Museum
Issue Date: July 30, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
As early as 1896 the Post Office Department was considering using automobiles to replace horse-drawn vehicles. Not only would they reduce the time needed to deliver mail, but it was also hoped they would reduce the number of postmen needed as well. In 1899 experiments in Cleveland and Buffalo proved successful. In fact the time to deliver mail was reduced considerably - by more than 50%! Plus, automobiles could be used to equal advantage in both large metropolitan cities, as well as small towns and rural areas.
Shortly after the turn of the century the Post Office began earnestly testing the feasibility of using “motorized wagons.” In 1906, Baltimore was selected as the site for the first city-wide testing of automobile service. In time, automobiles dramatically changed the movement and organization of our mail service.
Eventually trucks replaced automobiles, which had a limited carrying capacity. Ford Model A trucks were used by the Postal Service for nearly 25 years as the principal vehicle for city mail delivery. So exhausted was the fleet by the end of its term that the trucks were sold for a mere $8.00 apiece. Today the Postal Service maintains over 140,000 trucks.