Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

The Lost Genius of the Post Office

Source: Smithsonian National Postal Museum

In 1897, a year when mail was still largely delivered by horse and wagon, construction began on an innovative scheme beneath the streets of Philadelphia. Using an intricate network of compressors and metal pipes, the new system could shoot a capsule holding a few hundred letters across a city in several minutes, far faster than a postman could get it there—a speed that matched the increasing velocity of American commerce. The investor in this new technology wasn’t some kind of delivery startup, the FedEx or UPS of its day. It was the U.S. Post Office.

Behind the experiment was Postmaster General John Wanamaker, who was inspired by Paris, London and some other European cities that were already trying out pneumatic posts. It seemed a natural fit for America’s growing metropolises, where mail was hauled by horse cart and carried on foot. Wanamaker had the sense not to try to concoct such a system in-house, since the agency had no such expertise. So he did something clever: He called for private proposals to build pneumatic tube systems…. Read more at http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/06/08/us-post-office-technical-difficulties-000449

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Similar posts
  • Why Trump’s Government Overhaul... The executive order issued by President Donald Trump yesterday has a goal nearly every citizen and legislator would cheer: to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch.” What’s not to like? The executive branch is an organizational basket case, and it sorely needs a re-think. For 238 years, citizen legislators and presidents [...]
  • Five Big Questions About Trump’... On Monday, the Trump Administration made its first big move against overregulation, issuing an executive order requiring agencies to repeal two current regulations for each new one they propose. The order also imposes a regulatory budget come FY2018, which would limit the amount of new regulatory costs agencies can impose on individuals and businesses each [...]
  • Six Ways Congress Can Curb a Runaway ... No bones about it, Donald Trump is a steamroller. He defeated 16 Republican candidates, despite being a political novice. Jeb Bush’s $150 million war chest couldn’t insulate him from Trump’s insults; nor could Hillary’s much vaunted ground game and experience. Now Trump is in the Oval Office, and has shown no sign of taking his [...]
  • Why Are Farmers Telling Kids What to ... The law governing America’s school lunches is up for renewal this year, and the 210-page draft bill now in play took more than a year to negotiate. The final result is a mélange of provisions attempting to satisfy competing interests. When Pat Roberts, the Republican senator from Kansas who chairs the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry [...]
  • So… This is Nixon’s Fault... Well, no, in fact, the current sorry state of the congressional budget process is Congress’ fault. But the 1974 Congressional Budget Act was spurred by Nixon, who… (Read more at [...]