History, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

Smithsonian Snapshot: Skyhooking

Skyhook container; photo courtesy National Postal Museum

In the 1930s, U.S. postal officials tried different ways of moving the mail. One technique was called “skyhooking,” which brought the mail to rural towns that had no adequate railway or highway mail routes. Unfortunately, the towns which needed this type of service usually did not have adequate landing fields for planes.

Although a low-flying airplane could simply drop a sack of mail onto the ground, the tricky part was getting ground mail into the moving plane. The Railway Mail Service’s successful on-the-fly mail exchange system provided the inspiration for an aviation experiment. Mail would be “caught” by a plane flying overhead and reeled up into the plane. Of course, catching the mail was not going to be easy. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

U.S.P.S. Considering A Five Day Work Week

Photo courtesy of
‘Neither rain nor sleet nor snow..’
courtesy of ‘Diacritical’

NBC Washington reports that our U.S. Postal workers are thinking about changing things up a bit.

The U.S. Postal Service is asking Congress for permission to shorten its week by cutting Saturday mail delivery and amending their health benefits for retirees.

Worker’s demands aren’t the sole reason for the request. U.S.P.S. claims it lost $297 million in the first fiscal quarter due a 9% drop in mail volume.

As of right now, the plan would mean continuing express mail and processing of “remittance mail” (payments from costumers to businesses and checks to and from banks). However, the request – if granted – would not be implemented until mid-2011 at the very earliest.