This month’s feature item from the collection is a U.S. Mail Wagon used in the early part of the 1900s to deliver mail in the northern part of Wayne County, Ohio. It was donated to the Historical Society in 1978 by Carl Schaad, who was retiring as Postmaster of Burbank, Ohio at the time. Mr. Schaad’s father was a rural carrier out of Burbank for many years and bought this wagon, used, in 1919.
Rural delivery wagons, which carriers had to buy themselves, generally had a small combination desk/sorting case up front and room for a small cashbox and a coal-fired foot-warmer in winter. They often came with four sled runners for use during winter weather conditions. Rural mail carriers sometimes chose to wear uniforms, although it was not required.
The introduction of Parcel Post in 1913 led to a greater need for motorized delivery vehicles, since there was simply more mail and it became heavier and bulkier. Motor vehicles were more expensive than horse-drawn vehicles, but could carry more and travel further. Although some rural carriers still chose to hang on to their horse-drawn vehicles because some of the rural road conditions were so poor only a horse-drawn vehicle could reliably pass over them. Once roads were improved and automobiles gained better traction the old horse-drawn mail wagons disappeared from use.
U.S. Mail Wagon
October 12, 2012 posted by 3 Comments