8 Crazy Things That People Used to Mail in the Past
In the past, the postal service system was a great way of ensuring packages were delivered at affordable prices and relatively quickly. However, at some point, people began sending the most unusual items like animals, coffins, eggs, and even people.
Today at Bright Side, we’d like to share the strange things people managed to send through the postal system. Make sure you don’t miss the bonus at the end.
1. Mary Pierstoff, the child mailed to visit her grandmother
The most surprising use of the postal service occurred in 1914, when a 4-year-old girl named Mary was mailed to her grandmother from Grangeville to Lewiston in Idaho. The girls’ parents claimed that the postage was much cheaper than a train ticket.
Mary weighed around 48.5 lbs which was below the 50 lb weight limit, and since there were no restrictions about mailing people, they stamped and mailed her. A couple of years later, other stories came up of parents who occasionally sent their children via mail, thanks to the postal workers who let it slide.
2. The mailed Hope diamond that was worth $1 million.
The famous million-dollar Hope Diamond that was estimated to have 45.52 carats was sent via mail in a plain brown box when its owner and gem dealer, Harry Winston, passed away. He trusted the postal system enough to send it from New York City to the Museum of Natural History.
The post cost him only $2.44, plus an added insurance cost of $142.85 for the million-dollar necklace. Luckily, the letter carrier who was responsible picked up the package, drove it themselves, and ensured that it got delivered to Leonard, who was the secretary at the Smithsonian Institution.
3. People would sneak fish through the post office.
A few other strange things that have been mailed are fish. Both living and dead fish have been sent via mail in the past.
4. A pet chameleon was sent to live elsewhere since the owner’s home was too cold.
In December of 1954, David, a man from Fostoria, Ohio, sent a letter to a postmaster in Orlando, Florida. In the letter, he stated that he was sending his chameleon from Ohio since it was too cold for him and when it would arrive in Orlando it should be set free. He also asked that they let him know if the animal arrived safely and when it did, the postmaster sent him his best Christmas wishes.
5. Pieces of the Titanic were sent from Milan to Georgia.
Over 90 tons of the fragile remains of the Titanic ship were found in Italy and were sent all the way from Milan to Georgia through the postal service. The wreckage, that cost between $1 million and $3 million, was washed ashore before being found, mailed, and delivered to the United States.
6. Physicians shipped diseases.
In an issue by The New York Times in 1895, a Miss Daisy James noted that dead birds, smallpox, and scarlet fever strains were being mailed and shipped by doctors to the National Health Board, which was quite dangerous.
7. A cat got sent through a pneumatic tube.
The pneumatic system was built in the 1800s to deliver mail across New York City at a faster pace. The systems were located 4 to 6 ft below the city’s surface and women and men who handled the tubes were known as “rocketeers.” However, in 1897, some operators wanted to test the speed of the system.
They decided to place a live cat inside one of the tubes and send it through. Luckily, it survived and they proved it was possible.
8. Suffragettes were delivered as letters to convey messages.
During the 20th century, “suffragettes,” or women who wanted the right to vote, tried their best to get attention and have their grievances heard by people in power. Once 2 suffragettes managed to travel through the postal service, since there were no restrictions on mailing humans, and were successfully delivered to the British prime minister to convey their message.
Bonus: The longest prison sentence was given to a mailman.
Another fact is that the longest prison sentence in history was given to a mailman named Gabriel March Granados from Spain. The sentence was for 384,912 years, for not delivering 42,884 letters.
Also, in the past the Postmaster General used to be in the line of succession to the Presidency.
Which delivery surprised you most? Are there any strange deliveries you’ve sent or received in the past? Comment down below and share.
Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova and Oleg Guta for BrightSide.me