You probably have an inkling that modern-day mail is sorted by machines. But back in 1903, it had to be done by guys named Ralph or Wesley. They had a lot of letters to sort, and they had to do it quickly—so this is the "system" the U.S. Post Office Department came up with. (You don't have to watch the whole clip, ten seconds will give you the idea.)
Sometimes Ralph and Wes were on shift at the same time, while a third guy named Clarence kept dumping letters onto their desk:
Those things they're throwing the letters into aren't bins, but bags. Here they're tying them up, joined by Clarence as well as Samuel:
That last video was in focus enough that I became curious about those semicircular racks, which were probably made out of either iron or dinosaur bones. Alas, all I could find was a patent application for a later (1910) design that apparently improved on the design of the one we saw in the videos. Near as I can tell from the language in the application, the chief improvement seems to be that these can be broken down.
In any case, the modern-day U.S. Postal Service has a decidedly more efficient system in place:
I might actually prefer to work at the older place.
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Someone needs to convert the old films into 24 frames per second though as it made them look like they were going lightning fast. Still pretty cool.
I love how the video shows the mail man actually picking up the mail. My mail man will not pick my mail up from my mail box. He is so lazy or stupid he will actauly deliver my mail and leave the outgoing mail in my mail box. When I call to complain about this, the post office claims they are not obligated to pick up outgoing mail in a mail box. I wonder if they tell the postal workers what the little flag is for.... OMG, privatize the mail system in this country! it's horrible. Thanks :-)
It sucks that you have a carrier that does not put customers first. If that individual worked in the office that I worked in, they would be well on their way to being fired. Not all of us are bad, but unfortunately there is that small percentage who are and they stand out. We did better for on time delivery than FedEx or UPS this past holiday season. I know it is tough, but please to not judge the whole Postal Service based on a few workers. If there was something I could do to help, I would. You can file a complaint on-line that goes to USPS HQ in Washington DC. Maybe it will help. Good Luck and Happy New Year!
Reminds me of the old guy in this clip http://youtu.be/gDsnFUVwsfo
I notice that the 'FRAGILE' labelled parcels get treated the same as all the other parcels, always thought there was no point to the fragile sticker on a parcel.
I watched right to the end, hoping to see a baby being mailed - such disappointment!