History of the U.S. Postal Service Timeline
|1639||First post office in America opened in Boston, Massachusetts.|
|1775||Benjamin Franklin named the first U.S. postmaster general.|
|1788||The Constitution gives Congress the right to establish post offices and post roads.
The first postal rates are set. The cost for sending a letter to a destination within 450 miles is 25¢.
|1832||First delivery of mail by railroad.|
|1847||The first postage stamps are printed: 5¢ for a Ben Franklin and 10¢ for a George Washington.|
|1860||The Pony Express begins carrying mail across the West.|
|1863||New postage rates are introduced, based on weight instead of distance.|
|1896||Rural Free Delivery begins. People living in rural areas no longer have to travel to a post office to pick up their mail.|
|1912||Parcel Post (package delivery) begins.|
|1950||Automatic letter sorters and facer-cancellers introduced.|
|1963||ZIP (Zoning Improvement Plan) codes are introduced. Before this innovation, each complete address had to be read during sorting.|
|1983||First barcodes printed on envelopes for more efficient mail sorting.|
|1993||National Postal Museum opens in Washington, DC.|