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Why Are Mailboxes Blue?

Why Are Mailboxes Blue?
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You’ve probably noticed the large standing blue mailboxes scattered around your town. You may have even used one of them to send a mail before.

So, have you ever wondered, “Why are mailboxes blue?”

You can find the answer in the 1970s after the Postal Reorganization Act. In an attempt to rebrand, the US Postal Service repainted the mailboxes in a new uniform signature color.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into that matter!

Why Are Mailboxes Blue?

The announcement of the United States Postal Service’s independence was a turning point in the Post Office Department’s history, triggering many other changes.

In 1971, the newly declared independent organization reintroduced itself to the public. One move in that direction was to paint the mailboxes in the signature dark blue color.

Through the years, the color became a trademark for the institution. Additionally, it helped make the boxes more easily identifiable and differentiated from other Service boxes.

What Is the United States Postal Service?

The United States Postal Service is a non-military government institution that was founded in the 1970s in the wake of the United States postal strike. President Richard Nixon approved the organization in the light of the Postal Reorganization Act.

Since then, the institution has posed as the official mail delivery service in the United States.

The United States Postal Service has the largest infrastructure in the country, which supports the mission to provide mail-delivery services to every house in the nation.

Before that, in 1872, the mail delivery services were handled by the United States Post Office Department, which was part of the United States Cabinet.

Were Mailboxes Always Blue?

Mailboxes weren’t always blue. They went through multiple color changes from the 1860s to the 1970s.

Green was the first used color for mailboxes. Back then, the shade of the color wasn’t uniform across all states. For example, California had bright green mailboxes, while Pennsylvania used a darker shade.

A while after that, in1887, Washington DC started painting the mailboxes red, and the remaining states soon followed.

The red color was an attempt to make the mailboxes stand out on the streets. Unfortunately, people confused the red mailboxes with emergency and fire equipment that had the same color.

Later on, in 1955, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield announced they’ll paint mailboxes in red and blue, with white lettering to make them more identifiable.

In 1971, following the Postal Reorganization Act, Postmaster General Winton Blount decided on painting all the mailboxes in the current signature dark blue color with an eagle seal.

What Is the Use of Blue Mailboxes?

The blue-colored mailboxes found across the county are also called collection mailboxes.

As the name suggests, these mailboxes provide an easy drop-off method for outgoing mail and small packages for United States Postal Service’s customers. These mailboxes will save the sender the unnecessary trip to the post office.

In large cities, you may find a blue collection mailbox every couple of blocks. However, you’re less likely to find these boxes in rural areas because the demand for mail isn’t that high.

People commonly use the collection mailboxes for domestic shipments. Yet, international shipping is still an option.

Still, you should keep in mind that additional rules will apply to international shipping, like providing customs declarations before sending out your mail and adding a pre-printed shipping label.

What Can You Ship Out In Blue Mailboxes?

You can use the blue mailboxes to deliver first-class mail and packages.

A first-class mail is simply a letter that weighs below 3.5 oz and has a postage stamp on the envelope. As for packages, their weight shouldn’t exceed 13 oz in case you‘ve settled on using a stamp to send them out.

If your package weighs above 13 oz, you must use a pre-printed shipping label before placing it in the mailbox.

A pre-printed shipping label is a piece of paper with an adhesive back that sticks to the pack containing the details about the package.

You can either buy a ready-made label or create your shipment label through multiple online platforms. Besides, the United States Postal Service’s official website allows you to customize your labels.

All you need to do is insert your name, address, and the recipient’s information, followed by your shipment details. Here, you’ll need to pay a visit to the post office to get your printed label.

What Is the Difference Between Blue and Green Mailboxes?

Although blue mailboxes are abundant across the country. Still, every now and then, you can spot a green mailbox around the corner.

The major difference between these two mailboxes is who will use them. Anyone, for example, can use the blue mailboxes to send outgoing mail or a package.

Meanwhile, the green mailboxes are drop boxes for mail carriers. In these boxes, the mailmen could leave their packages and mail mid-way for another carrier to deliver them.

The United States Postal Service’s Trademark

In 2010, the United States Postal Service filed an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against the Lost Key Rewards company. Their defense was that Lost Key Rewards was using a logo that’s very similar in shape to the well-known blue mailboxes.

The case of the United States Postal Service vs. Lost Key Rewards, Inc. discussed Lost Key Rewards’ use of the round-shaped blue box that looked identical to the collection mailboxes.

The court decided that the blue-colored mailbox design was unmistakable and uniquely tied to the United States Postal Service. In addition, the Postal Service institution holds trademark rights for that design.

Final Thoughts

The answer to the question, “Why are mailboxes blue?” can be traced back to the 1970s, following the Postal Reorganization Act.

The United States Postal Service aimed to rebrand the organization in all aspects, which included repainting mailboxes with a signature blue color.

These blue collection mailboxes could be your go-to option if you plan on sending a small lightweight letter or package, either domestically or internationally.

In the end, no one can deny that the dark blue color of the collection mailboxes became a hallmark of the United States Postal Service department.