Saturday, 29 September 2012

Postboxes & Mailboxes

Postbox in Uzbekistan

It's time for the first post dedicated to my brand new project called The Monthy Task. You can read aout it on the separated part of this page (see: Join the Monthly Task!).

This month's theme are Mailboxes & Postboxes, so at first I'd like to write a few words about these. I think they are very important part of Postcrosser's routine, even though we do not pay attention on them most of the time.

What are mailboxes and postboxes at all...

Icelandic postbox
A postbox, known in the United States and Canada as collection boxmailbox,post box, or drop box as well,  is a physical box into which members of the public can deposit outgoing mail intended for collection by the agents of a country's postal service.
On the other hand , a mailbox, letterboxletter plateletter holedeed or mail slot is a receptacle for receiving incoming mail at a private residence or business.

How did it all start...

Private mailboxes or mail slots did not become popular in most of Europe until the mid to late 19th century, although they were used in Paris from the late 18th century, while the first post boxes are believed to have been installed in Paris as early as early as 1653. By 1829, post boxes were in use throughout France.
First Paris street letter box cca. 1850
In 1849, the British Post Office first officially encouraged people to install letterboxes to facilitate the delivery of mail. Before then, letterboxes of a similar design had been installed in the doors and walls of post offices for people to drop off outgoing mail. An example of such a wall box (originally installed in the wall of the Wakefield Post Office) is dated 1809 and believed to be the oldest example in Britain.
 In 1863, with the creation of Free City Delivery, the U.S. Post Office Department began delivering mail to home addresses. Until 1916, U.S. mail carriers knocked on the door and waited patiently for someone to answer. Efficiency experts estimated that each mailman lost over 1.5 hours each day just waiting for patrons to come to the door. To correct this problem, the U.S. Post Office Department ordered that every household must have a mail box or letter slot in order to receive mail.Slowly, homeowners and businesses began to install mail slots or attached mailboxes to receive mail when they were either not at home or unable to answer the door.

Difference is shape and size around the world...

Some countries have different coloured post boxes; in countries such as Ausralia, Portugal and Russia, the colour indicates which type of mail a box is to be used for, such as 1st and 2nd class post. However, in Germany  and parts of Sweden, because of postal deregulation, the different colours are for the different postal services. Other nations use a particular colour to indicate common political or historical ties. You can fing postboxes colored in these colors aroun the world: red ( Belgium, Canada, India, Japan...), yellow (Brazil, Croatia, France, Spain, Turkey...), blue (Belarus, Russia, United States...), green (China, Hong Kong, Ireland and Taiwan), orange (Estonia, Indonesia, Netherlands and Czech Republic), white (San Marino and Singapore), grey (Philippines) and gold (some in the UK).
Post boxes or mailboxes located outdoors are designed to keep mail secure and protected from weather. Some boxes have a rounded or slanted top or a down turned entry slot to protect mail from rain or snow.Locks are fitted for security, so mail can be retrieved only by official postal employees, and the box will ordinarily be constructed so as to resist damage from vandalism, forcible entry, or other causes. Bright colours are often used to increase visibility and prevent accidents and injuries. Entry openings are designed to allow the free deposit of mail, yet prevent retrieval via the access slot by unauthorised persons.

In the following weeks I am going to post the pictures and descriptions of the postboxes and mailboxes that collectors all around the world have sent me! I hope you enjoy! ;)

Source: Wikipedia

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