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The Fascinating History of Package Delivery

Think of an item, any item.

No matter what you came up with, there is a strong possibility that companies such as Amazon and Walmart can ship that item to your door within 2 days. We are in a time where package delivery is providing almost instant gratification. 

However, let’s rewind for a moment. How did package delivery become a possibility in our world?

Let’s take a look back in time at the history of courier services and package delivery. 

Persian Empire and the Royal Road 6th Century BC

To reach the beginning of the postal industry, we have to look way back to the 6th century BC. The Persian Empire had the first industrialization of shipping.

At its peak, the Persian Empire spanned over two million square miles. As such, they needed a fast, accurate, and efficient way to send messages and parcels. 

The Persians mapped out a series of roads and paths that connected the territories of the empire. This network was dubbed “The Royal Road.” 

On the Royal Road, experienced horsemen relayed parcels across the expansive territory. To put it into perspective, the riders on the royal road could cover over 2600 kilometers in a mere seven days. Not too shabby for early postal services! 

Emperor Augustus’ Roman Parcel Services

You’ve heard the expression, “All roads lead to Rome.” Well, regarding their early postal service, this was exactly the case. 

Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, implemented the Cursus Publicus or the public way. This system, influenced by the Persians, was a way to send parcels throughout the vast empire. 

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There were stations set up along this network. Here, package couriers with horses and wagons sat ready for dispatch. The service was paid for by taxpayers. The Cursus Publicus was one of the many innovations from the Roman Empire. 

Pony Express of the West

Now, we will take a look at the 1800s in America. The gold rush was pulling people from the populated east to the west coast in search of riches. 

The spread meant letters and packages had to travel farther distances. This led to the Pony Express and the Wells Fargo company. The former was for letters, the latter for packages.

The Pony express had an unprecedented speed, claiming 10 days from east to west coast. These services were instrumental in connecting vast distances across the United States. 

U.S. Post Office and Airmail

The US Postal Service dates back to 1775. However, one of their biggest contributions to package delivery didn’t start till 1918. 

It was then they scheduled the first packages to be delivered by plane. Though this was still early in the development of planes, the airmail service dramatically increased speeds of mail. 

The airmail service was the beginning of the fast delivery speeds we enjoy today. 

Deliveries Today

It was from these significant histories that package delivery services developed. 

Today we have delivery services that can bring hot food to your door. There are National Lockers and Shelving providing locations where packages can be safely delivered without an address. There are even drones that can fly packages to you in mere hours. 

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Who knows what the future will hold?

Package Delivery Into the Future

The next time you get a parcel, take a moment to think about how package delivery has evolved over the centuries. Then, imagine where it’s going next. 

If you enjoyed this article, keep browsing our blog for more curious and interesting facts.