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10 things you might not know about the USPS

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Presidential Postal Workers
Two postmasters became US Presidents later in their careers. Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman. Truman held the title and signed papers but immediately turned the position and its pay over to an assistant. Lincoln was the only President who had served as a postmaster.

Famous Postal Workers
Some famous people that were postal workers prior to become famous. Bing Crosby was a clerk in Spokane WA.  Walt Disney was a subsitute carrier in Chicago IL.  Rock Hudson was a letter carrier in Winnetka, IL

Postal Savings System
The USPS at one time served as a bank.  An Act of Congress of June 25, 1910, established the Postal Savings System in designated Post Offices, effective January 1, 1911. The legislation aimed to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants accustomed to saving at Post Offices in their native countries, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in banks, and furnish more convenient depositories for working people. The system paid two percent interest per year. Initially, the minimum deposit was $1, and the balance in an account could not exceed $500, excluding interest.Deposits were slow at first, but by 1929, $153 million was on deposit. Savings spurted to $1.2 billion during the 1930s and jumped again during World War II, peaking in 1947 at almost $3.4 billion.On April 27, 1966, the Post Office Department stopped accepting deposits to existing accounts, refused to open new accounts, and cut off interest payments as the annual anniversary date of existing accounts came up. When the system ended officially July 1, 1967, about $50 million in the unclaimed deposits of more than 600,000 depositors was turned over to the U.S. Treasury Department to be held in trust indefinitely

Postage Stamps
The Post Office Department issued its first postage stamps on July 1, 1847. Previously, letters were taken to a Post Office, where the postmaster would note the postage in the upper right corner. The postage rate was based on the number of sheets in the letter and the distance it would travel. Postage could be paid in advance by the writer, collected from the addressee on delivery, or paid partially in advance and partially upon delivery.

The Monopoly and Universal Service
To enable the Post Office Department to serve all Americans, no matter how remote, yet still finance its operations largely from its revenue, Congress gave the Department a monopoly over the carriage of letter-mail by a group of federal laws known as the Private Express Statutes. Without such protection, Congress reckoned that private companies would siphon off high-profit delivery routes, leaving only money-losing routes to the Department, which then would be forced to rely on tax-payers to continue operations. In the past two centuries, Congress has held to this belief.

Some Statistics
The Postal Service: is the nation’s 2nd largest civilian employer has the nation’s largest retail network has the world’s largest civilian fleet of vehicles has the world’s largest alternative fuel-enabled fleet The Postal Service has a larger retail network than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Wal-Mart combined (in US).

Pre-Home Delivery
Before 1863, postage paid only for the delivery of mail from Post Office to Post Office. Citizens picked up their mail, although in some cities they could pay an extra two-cent fee for letter delivery or use private delivery firms

Rural (Free) Delivery
In 1890, nearly 41 million people — 65 percent of the American population — lived in rural areas. Although many city dwellers had enjoyed free home delivery since 1863, rural citizens had to pick up their mail at the Post Office, leading one farmer to ask: “Why should the cities have fancy mail service and the old colonial system still prevail in the country districts?” Judged a success, rural free delivery became a permanent service effective July 1, 1902. The word “free” was dropped in 1906, since it was understood

Telegraph Lines

The Post Office Department owned and operated the first public telegraph lines in the United States, starting in 1844 from Washington to Baltimore, and eventually extending to New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. In 1847 the telegraph system was privatized, except for a period during World War I, when it was used to accelerate the delivery of letters arriving at night

A Non Government Subsidized Postal Service
The Postal Reorganization Act of August 12th, 1970 authorized the Postal Service to borrow money from the general public and phased out the general public service subsidy, which the Postal Service ended earlier than required, last accepting an operational subsidy in 1982. It also authorized appropriations to reimburse the Postal Service for carrying congressionally established categories of free and reduced-rate mail and required that rates for each class of mail cover direct and indirect costs attributable to that class, plus a portion of institutional costs.

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