Arago: Postal Collection Mailboxes

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Postal Collection Mailboxes

Scheble-style mailbox

Description:

Eugene D. Scheble, a dentist from Toledo, Ohio, designed this style mailbox in the early 1890s. At the time, the firm of Maybury & Ellis had a four-year contract with the Post Office Department to produce Doremus-style mailboxes. To prevent Scheble from becoming a competitor, Maybury offered him a share in the company for the rights to the box. When Maybury & Ellis’s contract was up for renewal in 1899, the postal committee approved the Scheble box design.

The lid was a factor that distinguished the Scheble design from the Doremus design. When depositing mail into a Scheble box, the user lifts the lid instead of pulling it down, as was done with the Doremus. The new design, it seemed, protected mail from rain better. However, once put into practical use, postmasters began receiving complaints. The flimsy nature of the Scheble mailbox lid led to many of them being broken off, exposing the contents of the box to weather and thieves. The Post Office Department asked Maybury & Ellis to revert to the Doremus box in May 1893.

Reference:

"Vanishing Americana: Lamp Post Letter Boxes." By James H. Bruns and Michael J. Lilly. Unpublished article.

Date:
c. 1900-1930
Markings:
LIFT UP / U.S. / MAIL
Medium:
metal; paint (olive green)
Dimensions:
14.75 x 16.75 x 8.5 in (37.46 x 42.54 x 21.59 cm)
Museum ID:
1992.2002.40
Place:
Ohio

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