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Posts Tagged ‘mail

What goes around…

 

The bicycle revolutionized late Victorian and Edwardian society. Between the 1880s and the 1910s, it grew from an expensive fad for the upper classes, to a popular sport, to a marker of freedom for women, and finally, to an affordable mode of transportation for the middle and working classes. The more daring took the riding of the bicycle even further to amazing acrobatic feats atop two pneumatic tyres!

Fancy Cycling, published in 1901, chronicles some of the daring tricks that could be executed on a bicycle…

From the ever-edifying Edwardian Promenade; the photo above is © Shire Publications/Old House, which has just re-released Fancy Cycling.

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As we fixate on fixies, we might recall that it was on this date in 1883 that James Goold Cutler patented the mail chute.  An architect (and later, Mayor of Rochester, NY), Cutler developed the system to allow employees or residents in multi-story buildings– which, with the advent of Otis’ “safe” elevators, were going up in huge numbers– to use a slot on their floor to mail letters which then dropped through a thin shaft to a collection box in the lobby.  Largely extinct now (they had an unfortunate habit of jamming, and then of course, there came email), they were once a standard feature of high-rises.

A Cutler mail chute, still in service as of 2010, in the lobby of the Idaho Building in downtown Boise.

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It was convenient while it lasted…

From the archives of the National Postal Museum

After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples.

[TotH to Neatorama]

As we compare the price of an airplane seat to the fee for an extra checked bag, we might recall that it was on this date in 1935 that the world’s first parking meter (Park-O-Meter No. 1, AKA “the Black Maria”) was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The design, by Holger George Thuesen and Gerald A. Hale, was done for Carl Magee, who patented and installed the device.

Magee, a journalist who’d earlier helped expose the Teapot Dome Scandal, and whose day job in 1935 was editor of the Oklahoma City News, is perhaps best remembered as coiner (more accurately adaptor, from Dante) of publisher E.W. Scripps Company’s motto:  “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way.”

Magee and the Meter (source)

 

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