Ben Takes the Reigns at the Post Office


Young Printer Ben

Young Printer Ben

Franklin Stamp 1866-69

Franklin Stamp 1866-69

On This Date In History: The US Postal Service was founded on this date in 1775 with Ben Franklin as the first Postmaster General.   Franklin was the best choice since he had experience. See, he was the Postmaster General of the colonies(or deputy postmaster)  for the crown beginning in 1753.  Under Franklin, delivery time for mail was cut in half.  He is credited with great improvments and innovations that even continue to the present. 

Franklin Milepost Near Boston

Franklin Milestone Near Boston

He started by making a tour of all the postal facilities, which was a tough task at that time due to the difficulty of travel.  He had routes surveyed and found established the shortest and most efficient routes between cities.  He established milestones, which would be the precursor for the milemarkers on today’s highways,  and improved mail service between New York and Philadelphia by scheduling mail wagons for both night and day.  Of course, Franklin had other interests and used his position to take advantage of his position.   He was able to markedly increase the circulation of his Gazette (either Philadelphia Gazette or Pennsylvania Gazette, depending on the source) by delivering the paper using the postal service to make his delivery.  As it turns out, the previous postmaster of Philadelphia had been a competitor of Franklin’s so I guess turnabout is fair play. 

Surveyor Goddard's ID Pass signed by Franklin 1776

Surveyor Goddard's ID Pass signed by Franklin 1776

As crown postmaster, old Ben established the rate chart, which determined postal rates by distance and weight.  Today, the postal service has a new rate for a standard box in which weight is not determined.  But, in general, the practice of using weight to determine the rates continue and I haven’t figured out why because the volume of the package seems to be more important as it takes up more space.  Anyway, its all Franklin’s fault and the system he initiated became standard.  But, for all the good he did the crown, he was dismissed from his position in 1774 because the old King wasn’t too thrilled with his vocal enthusiasm for independence.  Fired from one job, he was quickly rehired by the fledgling colonial government on this date in 1775. 

I’ll let you look at the postal service history as told by the postal service. Its probably a good idea to look for outside sources if you want the whole story because the USPS will tell you what the USPS wants you to know. Anyway, here’s the link:

http://www.usps.com/history/history/his1.htm

An interesting tidbit is that the USPS is not a direct governmental agency anymore. It became and independent agency under the Executive Branch in 1971 and stopped receiving subsidies in the early 1980’s. I think that means it is not accurate to yell at the postman and tell him he works for you or that your tax dollars pay his salary.

A Forgettable Portrayal of the Bambino

A Forgettable Portrayal of the Bambino

On This Date In Baseball: Babe Ruth made his final public appearance in 1948 at the screening of The Babe Ruth Story. Ruth died 3 weeks later from throat cancer…or at least that is the official story. I would not be surprised to find that Ruth really died after watching actor William Bendix portrayal of Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Ruth was known for many things but I didn’t know memorable quotes was one of them. Here is one worth remembering and shows that Ruth was indeed a winner and a champion.

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

 

HPC Sunday Evening

HPC Sunday Evening

 

Weather Bottom Line:  Frontal boundary finally plods through early Sunday but then sorta gets stuck.  On the one hand, we’ll get a reinforcement of the cooler than average temps.  I checked it out and through Saturday our average high has been just a shade under 81 degrees so far in July with no 90 degree days at all.  Not sure what the record coolest July is for our area but I’ll be we’re close.  With this front coming through and nothing really looking to alter the long wave pattern that rapidly, its a fair bet that we will not see 90 this month and that will be a first.  Now, this front will not get too far from us so I would not be surprised if there are some errant overrunning afternoon t’storms…well…not exactly overrunning but at least some elevated storms on the 850 boundary which will probably still be somewhere in the vicinity…most likely the southern part of the area.  Not really paying that much attention at this point (My attention is divided between the lightning outside and the Marx Brothers on the tube)  but it would seem that the boundary gets hung up near our area for a chunk of the week ahead so a risk of afternoon showers or t’showers will persist for much of the week with lower than average tempertures.

2 Responses

  1. I’m not sure why Ben did his postal rates by weight. Seems like in a wagon what would be important was how many packages you could haul and not how much weight, within reason. Today though trucks and airplanes are loading by weight. For trucks it is to save wear-and-tear on our highways. That’s why they have weigh stations! For airplanes if you exceed the weight limit or don’t distribute the weight correctly it can have disastrous consequences. So charging by weight makes sense now but maybe years ago it didn’t make sense. Ben Franklin was a pretty amazing guy–the very definition of a Renaissance Man!

  2. Seems like to me that a horse pulling something that weighs six pounds takes more effort and food and water than something that weighs 1 pound. A horse team will have a limit to how much it can effectively pull over a given distance and given road conditions. Therefore, weight would be the major concern…maybe if your load is heavier, then you have to add horses to your team if its possible to do so…and that costs more in food and such. Which I suppose would also apply to flying a jet plane…but when you’re talking about a 747, a few pounds won’t make any difference..then again, each extra ounce does add up.

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