Tag Archives: Wakefield Post Office

History of Mailboxes

One of the most interesting facts about mailboxes is that most mailbox designs that are common today began as custom mailboxes. Over the decades, custom designs became what we call normal mailboxes today. Here is a quick look at the history of the mailbox over the years:

According to MailboxesResidential.com, the first mailbox is believed to have been installed in Paris somewhere around 1829. Public mailboxes first surfaced in Warsaw sometime in 1842. The oldest mailbox in Britain was a wall mount mailbox at Wakefield Post Office and is now kept on display publically in a museum at Wakefield.

Curbside or roadside mailboxes first made an appearance in 1857 as a low-cost alternative to the pillar mailboxes, mainly in rural districts. The first pillar box in the UK was installed at Botcher gate, Carlisle in 1983. Overall the majority of modern mailbox designs originated as these custom mailboxes.

There were also mailboxes made to commemorate special occasions like the Olympics, Expo Fairs, and important milestones.

In the recent past, mailbox designs took a more dramatic turn. First with the use of other materials, and then the popularization of multiple colors. Then, manufacturers began introducing new features like locking for security, stronger materials for durability, and cluster mailboxes for more dense living environments.

Even today the mailbox is evolving with our changing needs. It is quite likely that today’s custom mailboxes will become tomorrow’s designs.