Wednesday, August 18, 2010

John Wise and the First Mail Being Carried Air

Yesterday was the 151th anniversary of the first mail being carried by air in the United States.

On August 17, 1859, "John Wise stood at the town square in Lafayette, Indiana, waiting next to a balloon named Jupiter. Even for a balloon enthusiast and a well-known aeronaut, it was a big moment. Wise was set to carry what would be the first U.S. airmail. A postmaster had handed him a bag with 123 letters. Destination of the balloonist and his precious cargo: New York City," according to a This Day in Tech write-up on the website.

It goes on to say, "Delivering letters by air had been attempted before. There had always been carrier pigeons. And in 1785, a balloon flight from Dover, England, to Calais, France, had carried mail."

The first airmail flight in an airplane took place nearly 50 years later, when three letters were carried a few miles between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, California, in February 1911.

Shown above, photo of America's first airmail balloon waiting to take off.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM