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7 Interesting Facts About Mailboxes You Didn't Know

Monday June 24, 2019

The advent of the mailbox has revolutionized the way in which we send letters and packages. While you probably already know the basic concept of mailboxes and how they work, there are probably some things you don't know about them. Below are several interesting facts about mailboxes that may surprise you.

#1) There Are Over 142 million Mailboxes in the US

To say there are a lot of mailboxes would be an understatement. Statistics show that in a typical day, United States Postal Service (USPS) workers deliver mail to over 142 million mailboxes (or compartments in centralized mail delivery units).

#2) Benjamin Franklin Helped Pioneer the Modern Mailbox

While most known for being one of the country's Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin played a key role in the development of the modern mailbox. Franklin, in fact, was the first U.S. Postmaster, so he helped developed the groundwork for residential and business mailboxes.

#3) Centralized Mail Delivery Is Required for Multi-Unit Properties

As of 2006, the USPS no longer allows traditional curbside mailboxes for multi-unit properties like apartments. Rather, property developers and managers must use a centralized mail delivery system like STD-4C mailboxes or Cluster Box Units (CBUs).

#4) Centralized Mail Delivery Systems Must Be Locked

Traditional curbside mailboxes can be either locked or unlocked. For centralized mail delivery systems like STD-4C mailboxes and CBUs, however, each compartment must be locked. If a compartment isn't locked, meaning anyone can open it without a key, the courier won't deliver mail to it.

#5) Specifications for Dome-Rectangular Mailboxes Were Created in 1915

When most people think of curbside mailboxes, they envision the traditional dome-rectangular units that are now commonly used in residential neighborhoods. The USPS actually created the specifications for dome-rectangular mailboxes back in 1915. At this time, it required all curbside mailboxes to feature this design. it wasn't until the late 1970s when the USPS revised its guidelines to allow the use of modern curbside mailboxes as well.

#6) Curbside Mailboxes Were Used in the UK

Curbside mailboxes are common throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. However, they were used in the United Kingdom for decades before being adopted in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the United States didn't adopt private mailboxes until the mid-1800s, whereas the United Kingdom adopted them around the late 1700s.

#7) It Costs $154 Per Year to Deliver Mail to a Curbside Mailbox

A study conducted by the USPS found that it costs approximately $154 per year to deliver mail to a single curbside mailbox. Considering that there over 142 million mailboxes in the United States, it's an expensive task to say the least.


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