Pittsburgh, PA, receiving handstamp
The Post Office Department procured this handstamp from the Chambers shop at Lodge, Virginia. Concurrent four-year contracts included this description for Item 165b: A receiving stamp for back-stamping letters and is similar to Item 165-A except that the die is round, not octagonal, and is coarse-milled to facilitate unscrewing with fingers. The circular border of the dial is to be 1-inch in diameter, with the town and state of the post office along with "Rec'd" cut in relief within the border.
On May 8, 1913, Postmaster General Burleson signed an order eliminating the practice of 'backstamping' ordinary mail to show the date of receipt at a post office. After this date, only registered and special delivery mail was backstamped. This was usually accomplished using the same device that was issued for postmarking and canceling letter mail rather than using a "REC'D" postmarker. However, once a "REC'D" handstamp was supplied, it often stayed in occasional use on special delivery or registered mail.