Monday, July 1, 1963: ZIP codes

     The Post Office Department put into effect today its program to give every mailing address a number.
    The new system is called "zip code" and is designed to help speed mail deliveries.
     The department planned to mail 72 million cards to every mailbox in the country. The card informs the addressee of his five-digit "zip code" number and provides a brief explanation of the system.
     The Post Office Department wants everyone to put the number after the name of his city and state when writing his return address. The number also should be used in addressing mail to persons who have included it in their return addresses.
     "Zip code," or zone improvement program, has been invented for the day when all letters will be pre-sorted by machines. The Post Office Department said that it is easier to develop a machine which reads numbers because there are less variations of numerals than there of letters.
     -- United Press International, July 1

Note: To help explain ZIP codes and encourage their use, the Post Office Department also introduced the character Mr. ZIP.
* "Mr. Zip and the ZIP Code Promotional Campaign" (from National Postal Museum): @
* "You'll Be Seeing Lots of Mr. ZIP, Courtesy Of Post Office Dept." (Associated Press, June 29, 1963): @
* "ZIP code song" by The Swingin' Six and ZIP code explainer: @
* Other public service announcements: @ and @
* Earlier post on Mr. ZIP (October 1962): @ 


  1. I don't know why everyone complains about postal rates rising. Back when ZIP codes began, it cost about a nickel to deliver a first class letter in one day. Now it's forty cents to deliver it in eight days. That's still just a nickel per day

  2. Actually in 1963, like today, only local mail was delivered in a day. Anything else took several days, and at an extra cost (air mail rates were more - today, all first class mail flies.

    Not that it's saying much, but the USPS is by far the government's most efficient government agency. Well, it's actually a quasi-govt. operation. Maybe that's why!

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