does your letter go when you mail it? It goes in the mailbox. Then what?
The mail gets sorted. After that, the mail is put into piles for each
mail carrier's area. The mail carriers take the mail for their area and deliver
Then, people get the mail that was sent to them, and the mail they want
to send can go to
other people all around the world. In the United States and many other countries, there is no mail on Sunday. The
real story about how mail is sent is actually a little bit more complicated.
The postal system is more complicated than you may think. But
first, the basics. The postal system is where written documents (usually
enclosed in envelopes or written on postcards) and small packages travel all over the world. Remember, you can't mail anything
without a stamp!
History of Mail
History of Mail
services practically started the same time as writing. But
before that, the "postal system" was more like messengers
talking and telling people messages. No one had thought of writing down
their messages, so they could keep them private from the messengers and
everyone else. We got the term postal from the Latin word 'posta,' which
means place of rest. This is because messengers would take breaks and
rest during their journeys.
postal systems (with writing) started in Egypt in 2400 B.C. China
began after Egypt and started their own postal system. Some historians believe
that the written mail service truly started in Rome. They thought that
it really started in Rome because the Romans used special carriages and
horses just for delivering mail. It was more organized.
many people knew how to write long ago. People who couldn't write their
own letters would hire a scribe. A scribe is someone you could hire to
write and read letters or other pieces of writing for you.
our mail system is much more complicated than in the past. Not only do
we send letters through the mail, but we also send packages and
Mail collection boxes, places in which people put letters for delivery,
look different in different countries.
Mail collection boxes, places in which people put letters for delivery, look different in different countries.
Universal Postal Union is in charge of the world-wide postal system.
They do things like deciding national postage rates, and they say what
size postage stamps can be. Mail systems use what most countries call
postal codes to get mail where it needs to be faster. In the United
States, it is called a zip code, and it is called postal codes in many
other countries. A zip code is a number given to each city
or town to identify it faster for mail carriers.
Airmail has also made it easier to deliver mail quickly. The first
airmail delivery was on September 9, 1991. The mail was flown from one
London suburb to another.
Sending mail is great, but it isn't free. You have to pay to mail something from one place to another. Most of the time you do this by buying stamps and putting them on the thing to be mailed. The heavier your letter or package, the more it will cost to send it through the mail or the more stamps you will have to buy.
It is against the law for anyone to read someone else's mail.
This law/right is usually protected by most country's constitutions.
There is an exception to this law in the United States. The military is
allowed to read soldiers' mail before it is sent to help protect the
troops. This is called censorship.
are the things most commonly sent through the mail. There are many
different kinds of letters though.
Letters can be informal writings from one person to another. The mail is
also used to send bills such as phone or electricity bills. Bulk mail,
also known as junk mail, also takes up a lot of space in mail today.
The senders of junk mail often buy addresses from lists and then send
everyone on that list an advertisement for their product.
can also send postcards in the mail. When postcards were first invented,
they were blank on both sides. Today, postcards usually have a picture
on one side and a small space on the back for a message and the address.
It costs less to send a postcard than to send a letter.
Now you know all about the postal system. So the next time you mail a letter, stop and think. What happens after you drop that letter in the mailbox?
In New Zealand, mail is delivered in a way that reflects New Zealanders' athletic and naturalistic personalities. Unlike many other countries, ‘posties,’ a kiwi term for mailman or woman, deliver their mail from a bike. Each letter goes through a careful sorting process. Use the flowchart below to follow the journey of a kiwi letter in “A day in the life of a New Zealand letter.”
Brainy Encyclopedia. November 2004.
Personal field trip to Auckland, New Zealand Post by Caitlin. 7 September 2004.
Permission to use photographs of Posties at top of page from Carolyn Curley (Team Coach). 15 March 2005. Personal photographs.
Permission to use image of New Zealand Stamp from Sharlene King. <Sharlene.King@nzpost.co.nz> "RE: Permission to Use Stamp Image." 16 March 2005. Personal email.
Permission to use photographs of mailboxes in England and Japan is granted under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.
Photograph of mailboxes in the United States has been released into the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.
Copyrighted clip art images of mailbox, envelope, stamps, and package from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1> (February 2005). Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial purposes.