Arago: Postal Collection Mailboxes

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Postal Collection Mailboxes

Orr & Painter maibox

Description:

In 1889 Boston, Massachusetts, had over eight hundred street collection boxes. This Orr and Painter box is one example. The boxes were color-coded and were either red or green. Residents considered the red boxes more convenient because mail was picked-up every hour, but the green boxes only had collections four to five times a day and twice on Sundays.

The Post Office Department used Orr and Painter boxes during the late 1870s and into the 1880s. Orr and Painter formed a business partnership in the 1880s, and their business operated continuously until 1935. The Orr and Painter "American-style roadside posting box" was exported to Australia, where the boxes were installed in New South Wales in 1875.

Reference:

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 Unpublished paper.

Date:
late 1870s - 1880s
Markings:
LETTER BOX / UNION FOUNDARY & MFTC. / READING PA / US / MAIL
Medium:
metal; paint (dark green)
Dimensions:
13.5 x 7 x 15 in (34.3 x 17.8 x 38.1 cm)
Museum ID:
1992.2002.59.1
Place:
Massachusetts

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