Arago: Mail Processing

Mail Processing

Swedish mailbox


The design for this Swedish mailbox was introduced in 1949. It was the second of the yellow mailbox designs, the first one having been unveiled in 1912. All Swedish mailboxes had previously been black. The new 1949 mailbox had a simpler roof shape than the 1912 design, and the text on the front was changed from BrevlÄda (mailbox) to Post. In addition, the notice board was moved from the side of the box to the front. The mailbox was manufactured by the Swedish Post Office industry, and the designer of the box is unknown. Through years of modifications and improvements, the basic design remained the same. A new version was introduced in 2003.

Count Axel Oxenstierna (1583-1654) established the Swedish Postal Service, or Posten, in 1636, and by the eighteenth century the postal network extended throughout the country. During the eighteenth century, Swedes developed the unique practice of marking mail for rush delivery by attaching a feather to the wax seal of a letter. The public had to deposit their letters with a clerk at the post office until 1855, when mail boxes were first placed at post offices and in heavily populated areas. This corresponded to the introduction of postage stamps in Sweden.

Posten operated as a government agency until the end of the twentieth century, when it was restructured as a government-owned, limited company. In 2001 Posten abandoned centralized post offices in favor of expanded mail and package services at Postal Service Points in stores and gas stations. The increased services were followed in 2003 by design changes for new mailboxes, uniforms, and postal signs.


Exchange with Bo Andersson, Museum Curator, Sweden Post AB Accessed October 3, 2005

mid 20th-early 21st Century
17.5 x 13 x 7 in (44.45 x 33.02 x 17.78 cm)
Museum ID:
SWEDEN (constitutional monarchy)

Additional Records