Friday, March 24, 2006

Prototype Mail Pouch

This month's National Postal Museum's Object of the Month is the prototype mail pouch...not mail bag... not mail satchel...not mail sack...MAIL POUCH!

According to the museum's Web site, mailbag is the generic term used to describe any bag that carries the mail, but more specific words can be used to illustrate a bag’s function – and postal mailbags have had many different functions.

A mail satchel is an over-the-shoulder style bag that letter carriers use while delivering mail along a route.

Mail sacks are used to carry second-, third-, and fourth-class mail.

Mail pouches are made of a heavier weight material than mail sacks and are designed to lock; pouches are used to transport first-class and registered mail, as well as domestic or military airmail.

Based on physical appearances, the prototype mailbag would most likely be classified as a mail pouch, but because it was not used as a pouch, it is referred to by the generic term.

Catcher pouches were designed exclusively for railway mail and had metal rings at each end to attach to a mail crane and catcher arm to be picked up by moving rail cars. In the mid 18th century, letters were put in saddle bags designed to fit around a horse’s saddle. In the 19th century, both newspapers and letters were placed in a portmanteau, a round, side-opening, leather bag.

For more on the Prototype Mail Pouch, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM