Arago: Issued Equipment

Issued Equipment

Satchel for letter carriers


The flap of the leather satchel embossed “U.S. Mail” opens to reveal an interior with one leather divider attached to the front portion. The flexible leather and two pleats on the front create a roomy interior. Both sides have a narrow strip of leather riveted near the rim for reinforcement. The bottom joins along the sides by rivets and stitching. The satchel can be carried by a shoulder strap attached to the two D-rings secured to the back by leather strips.

Commonly referred to as "satchels," letter carriers used the leather, over-the shoulder type mailbag on their delivery and collection rounds. This form of satchel remained predominately in city delivery service from the 1860s to the 1980s. Carriers could tote as much as seventy pounds of mail in a pair of these durable satchels, which lasted an average of six years. Preference for the traditional, leather satchels endured years after the 1973 introduction of lighter-weight, canvas versions.

c. 1971-1980s
U.S. MAIL [front of flap; embossed in a semicircle]; USPS seal with blue, sitting eagle set above red lines off-setting U.S. MAIL in blue text surrounded with a yellow border on a white background[decal under the flap on the front of satchel] BONA ALLEN INC 1970 [interior; embossed]; HOWARD S. FOUST / POSTMASTER / PLAIN CITY, OH 43064-9998 [interior; stamped in blue ink, twice].
leather; metal
45.7 x 45.7 x 14.0 cm (18 x 18 x 5 1/2 in.)
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