Signed, Sealed, Delivered
The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775 by the Continental Congress, making it even older than the United States itself. As the nation grew during its first 100 years, so did the USPS, establishing roads, delivery routes, and offices to serve the burgeoning population. By 1901, there were more than 76,000 post offices from coast to coast, and home delivery of mail in urban and rural areas was the norm. The 20th century brought innovations including parcel delivery, airmail, the introduction of ZIP codes, and computer automation.
Since 1792, the cost of mailing a letter has been raised 40 times. The way those rates are determined also has changed over the years. Until 1855, prices were based on distance, not weight, and it wasn't until 1885 that the USPS settled on 1 ounce as the default weight for first-class postage. Since then, postage stamp prices have gone in only one direction: up. In the past five years alone, first-class stamps have jumped 22% in price. Here's a look back at how the price of postage has increased since America's beginnings.