Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dirty Laundry and the Post Office

"Back to school supplies included laundry mailing boxes for many college-bound students in the early twentieth century," according to a write-up on the National Postal Museum's website.

It goes on to say, "From the 1910s into the 1960s, mailing laundry was an attractive option for anyone without the time, means, or resources to do the chore themselves. It suited undergraduates, summer campers, military personnel, and others."

Thanks to the introduction of Parcel Post Service in 1913 rates that were affordable and the allowable mailing weight for packages was increased.

Types of containers varied, but they all needed to be made of durable materials; able to withstand repeated opening, closing, and sealing; and be of a manageable size according to the article.

According to the article, "The labor transformation led some students to take care of themselves and travelers found the new laundromats introduced in the 1930s came in handy. More people could fit laundry chores into their lives. At the same time, fewer people could fit much of their wardrobe into a mailing container. With more clothes in the closet and better washing equipment at hand, exchanging laundry by the post had all but vanished by the 1970s."

Shown above, postman with laundry cases.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM