From Ancient Messengers to Self-Driving Vehicles – The Evolution of Package Delivery

Feb 9, 2023 | Source:

Each day, the U.S. Postal Service delivers over 425 million pieces of mail. Add to that number the millions of packages that are also delivered daily by other carriers, and it’s clear to see what a massive undertaking package delivery has become. What started as small items being delivered via horseback has evolved to drone delivery, with the future of package delivery still being decided upon.

“It’s been an amazing journey to see where delivery started and where it is going,” says Dan O’Toole, founder, and chief executive officer of Dronedek. “At times, people question change and the next move, but when you look at where it started and how it’s evolved, it’s just part of the process.”

The history of mail and package delivery goes back many years, and what is used to make the deliveries has evolved. While it used to be done on foot and horseback, it went on to include stagecoaches, steamboats, balloons, and airplanes. Here is a look at some of the interesting facts regarding the history of package delivery that has taken place:

While the mail delivery system was started in England in 1633, it was in 1775 that it was founded in America. Before the U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775, correspondence was on foot or horseback by friends, Native Americans, and merchants etc., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Benjamin Franklin was the country’s first postmaster general, but he had already been the postmaster of Philadelphia since 1753. During his time as postmaster, he worked on improving the delivery system. Today, the U.S. Postal Service delivers over 200 billion pieces of mail each year.

The country saw the first official mail collection box on March 9, 1858, according to the Smithsonian Institution. The small boxes were placed in areas where people could drop off their letters to be mailed. As mail volume grew, they replaced them with larger boxes.

In 1860, William H. Russell started The Pony Express, where he advertised that he wanted young men under 18, preferably orphans, who could make the dangerous 2,000-mile horseback trek across the country each month to make deliveries. The job paid $25 per week, and the company lasted for a year and a half until the transcontinental telegraph system was completed.

Mail delivery became faster in 1832 when the train began being used to do the transporting. By 1899, the introduction of automobiles being used for mail delivery entered the picture.

In 1911, the first airmail using a pilot took place. Taking to the air helped speed up the delivery time.

In recent years, we are now turning to a point where drone delivery and autonomous vehicles are emerging. According to Forbes, Uber Eats has signed a 10-year deal to use driverless food deliveries. Also, there are currently over 2,000 drone deliveries being made daily, according to McKinsey & Company.

“We as a people started out making deliveries on foot, and it has now evolved to deliveries by drones,” adds O’Toole. “This is a fascinating time in the world of delivery, as well as for being someone who receives deliveries. They are becoming quicker, more efficient, safer, more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly.

Dubbed the “mailbox of the future,” the device will help people send and receive packages securely and safely and provide privacy. Dronedek has raised $8 million, helping to bring the receptacles to market and launching pilot programs. The company recently announced several new partnerships across its MaaS (Mailbox as a Service) ecosystem, including drone provider Hush Aerospace and network provider Helium.

To see videos of Dronedek in action, visit Dronedek: The Next Generation Mailbox and New Dronedek Smart Receptacle. To invest in the future of Dronedek and learn more visit the company’s StartEngine crowdfunding campaign page at

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