July 26, 1775 — Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) became the first postmaster general of the United States Post Office today, and held the job until late in 1776 when he was sent to France as a diplomat.
Since 1753, he had been postmaster in Philadelphia, and in his new position had the authority to put into place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system:
• He set up efficient colonial routes and cut delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams.
• He debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight.
• He established routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain.
• When George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
Today, the United States has more than 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. As the nation’s largest civilian employer, the USPS has more than 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters.
Words of Wisdom for July 26, 2016
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
— Benjamin Franklin