Sunday, June 30, 2019

Brief History of Collection Box Colors

Did you know that letter collection boxes were no always blue like the ones above? I guess I am not surprised that they weren't always blue, but I was surprised at the various colors they used to be!

Collection boxes were first introduced in 1858 and were a variety of colors. There were red ones and green ones. The red ones were "important" (isn't all mail??). Red collection boxes were visited each hour by a postal worker to collect the mail and get it on its way. The green ones were (presumably) checked at a longer interval.

By 1909 all collection boxes were painted a deep green color. This was the first time that all boxes were painted to match. In 1913 however, boxes were painted in a bright red color so they would stand out. The problem was that people confused them with fire boxes and emergency equipment were also red. Once again the boxes were painted green.

This lasted until the dark green gave way to olive drab. The War Department gave the postal service a surplus of the olive drab paint which was then used as the standard color until 1955. On July 4, 1955 the Postmaster General ordered all boxes to be painted red, white, and blue. Very patriotic I must say.

The patriotic design lasted just under 20 years when the Postal Department was reorganized into the USPS that we know today in 1971. During this reorganization they designated a blue color for our collection boxes. The blue color is still in use today and at the time of this writing there is no indication that it will change.

Do you remember the boxes being different colors? If so I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line or a comment on the blog.

1 comment:

  1. Although I love blue, I wish the collection boxes were brighter, more eye-catching. So few personal letters go out today that seeing a brightly colored receptacle might at least remind folks that letters a still a thing. :)