What is mail?• Mail or postage is the of sending and receiving of letters or parcels through the postal system such as USPS 3
How Does Mail Work?• Mail starts its journey when it is picked up by mail vans in residential and public mailboxes which are driven to the nearest post office where sorting begins.• A mild presorting begins separating international and national mail which is then sent to a much larger facility where machines sort mail.
Mechanical Sorting• After contents are sorted by size, they are sent to automatic sorting. The first machine checks letters for stamps. USPS postal stamps have an invisible fluorescent glow strip this machine 2 checks for. If the machine does not find a glow strip, the letter is sent back to sender. Letters with appropriate stamps are marked so they cannot be reused.
Mechanical Sorting• The next machine that sorts these letters is call the Multiline Optical Character Reader which processes up to 30,000 letters. It reads the address, takes a digital photo of the address, matches the address with the computer’s worldwide address book, then prints the postal code in barcode format on the front of the envelope. If this machine cannot read the address, it is withheld and a worker much decipher the address.
Mechanical Sorting• Now, a scanner reads the barcode and starts the actual sorting. Machines separate large amounts of mail destined for different post offices throughout the country and world where more humans will do the separating instead of machines. 1
Delivery• This sorting process for international mail may happen up to 5 times.• After it has reached the final postal office before delivery, mail trucks are loaded with mail sorted by route by workers.• This whole process for parcels and letters may take 8 business days. The wait for packages in the mail is longer because of their varied size, machines cannot scan the addresses so it is all done by hand.
USPS Government Funding and Competition• With the yearly 212 billion pieces of mail, USPS cannot keep up by themselves which is why companies such as FedEx and UPS deliver packages and mail for more cost but usually better or faster than the USPS.• USPS has been in the red every year since 1997 which is why the government has considered shutting USPS down.
The Pony Express• The first United States postal service was the Pony Express, the only postal service in the US from April 1960 to October 1961.• The Pony Express relayed mail through Sacramento, Missouri, and California on a 2,000 mile track where mail was delivered and received much like it is today by mail vans.• The riders would travel the trail on one horse for 10 – 15 miles and would switch horses at the next station. Riders would be done riding after 75 – 100 miles.• Riders would pick up mail at post stations as well as drop off mail for the respective stations every 10 days.
Works Cited1. Business Ink. 2008. Photograph. n.p.2. How Its Made Mail. 2010. Photograph. n.p.3. Universal Postage. 2007. Photograph. n.p.