It is a long wait when you send a text to your friend and they don’t reply within the next 2 minutes. This was not always the maximum time you had to wait to get a reply.
Before technology sped our lives, people were stuck sending letters by post and waiting for a reply for days and weeks. It felt like a century. The pneumatic tube mail system was one of the first shifts to innovation in the post system. But when did it begin?
The Need for Wired Mail
The largest delay in conversation was caused by the inefficiencies of the post system. During the 19th Century, in 1897, the wired mail system was launched in New York City. It was a progressive invention that helped in speedy mail delivery. The system was inaugurated in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Brooklyn.
"The Shadow" movie (1994) - wired mail transportation
The First Wired Mail
Before it was officially launched in March 1897, a test was conducted in Philadelphia. The first tube mail was sent as a test from the city’s General Post Office to the East Chester Street Post Office and ran a total of 0.58 miles. The success of this first wired mail caused great enthusiasm among the citizens.
This system was then led into New York City in 1897. The first tube mail was sent on October 15, 1897, in New York City. It contained the American flag, the Bible, a copy of a speech by President William McKinley, and a copy of the US Constitution.
Other Mail Deliveries Through Wired Mail
The other times the wired mail system carried parcels or mail were surprising in nature. One of them contained a peach to give credit to Senator Chauncy Depew because he was called such. While another parcel weirdly contained a cat. Some people really sent a cat through the tube mail system. That was progress.
The pneumatic mail system was not limited to the US only. It was also installed in many cities, including London, in the UK. And Paris also had the system up and running in the 19th century.
Increase in Efficiency
The system increased efficiency all over the western part of the world. The tubes carried a maximum of 95,000 letters per day which led to huge development in the postal system. You could say that manual mail deliveries might have been reduced and they were. The system lessened their load by 30% of the mail!
The End of Wired Mail
However, this invention had to come to an end when the first World War hit. The government officials made the decision to suspend the tube mail as it was eating up finance that could be used for war. The payments were at $17,000 per year and for the early 20th century it was valuable. In 1953, it was officially closed down.
The Wired Mail System ran its course. However, it ran a brilliant course and launched as an innovation that was a significant contribution to communication. It proved that quick communication was possible, and it can be done again in the future.