A History of Delivery

By horse, mail or bike, people have done whatever it takes to get things from here to there.


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500 B.C. Royal messengers on horseback thunder across the Persian Empire—from modernday Iran to Egypt—along a string of way stations spaced one day’s ride apart.

1840 The Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, makes its debut in the United Kingdom.

1860–61 The pony express gallops mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and California’s capital city of Sacramento for a year and a half.

1958 Jeweler Harry Winston sends the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution by registered mail for $145.29, the cost of insurance.

2008 UPS begins delivery by bicycle in communities around Oregon, Washington, California, and Tennessee.

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This article was first published in December 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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