- Written by webmin
Smithsonian‘s excellent Flickr feed has become quite topical, most recently posting a brief series of great images of US Mail vehicles in adverse conditions as part of a much longer winter theme.
There are only five of postal vehicles up now, so to make it interesting I’m going to include their captions but leave the dates off – see what you can come up with. Smithsonian itself doesn’t have them all nailed down, nor do they have makes and models, but you can visit the links to see what they think and to access ultra high resolution versions of the images.
1. A letter carrier drives one of the Department’s new right-hand drive vans on the snowy streets of an unidentified city. The Department ordered thousands of new postal vehicles in (redacted) as part of its post-war modernization plan. A variety of vehicles were ordered, including right-hand drive step vans such as this. Many of the new vehicles performed adequately, but few of the dozens of different styles ordered were re-ordered in large quantities. (Source file.)
2. In their drive to open up a transcontinental flyway, postal officials were constantly seeking better, faster aircraft for their pilots to use. When a determination was made to reconfigure the de Havilland aircraft by adding a second engine, postal officials believed they had found their airplane. The first trips were the only successful ones for this airplane. Soon reports were flooding Air Mail Service headquarters of crashes and mechanical problems with the airplanes. After a series of fatal crashes the twin de Havillands were removed from service. A fuel truck and three unidentified men are in the foreground of this airmail plane in the snow. (Source file.)
3. A quartet of new Post Office Department trucks lead a parade of vehicles along an unidentified snowy street. (Source file.)
4. Photograph of rural carrier in automobile at mailbox. (Source file.)
5. Postal officials encouraged Rural Free Delivery (RFD) carriers to replace their horses and wagons with the latest in transportation technology. This unidentified carrier painted his early electric-motored vehicle in the same paint and identification scheme as the RFD wagons of the era. He is, no doubt, only able to complete his wintertime rounds thanks to a snow-plowed road. Automobiles were not yet adequate replacements for horses, wagons, and sleds on rural roads. (Source file.)