Monday, May 2, 2011

Zip Codes--A New-Fangled System

Well, zip codes were a new system back in 1963. The United States Postal System developed zip codes as a method to provide increased efficiency and organization to mail handling.

The original zip code system as instituted on July 1, 1963 was a five-digit system. The use of zip codes on mail weren't mandatory initially, by 1967 bulk mailers were required to use zip codes.

I was a child when the change came about. It wouldn't have been notable to me except that I wrote letters to my grandparents. The additional numbers didn't make any sense to me at the time, but I did as I was told and added the "mystery" code to the outgoing mail.

Nowadays, putting zip codes on envelopes happens without a second thought. But for those who were already adults in 1963, zip codes were the first of many innovations to come from the 1960s.

In telling my grand kids about the advent of zip code, they look at me quizzically. One of the older grandchildren even asked if I was around when the pony express was active. I seem to recall asking my grandparents the same question.


  1. ...and now so many places want that four digit assignment code at the end of the zip code. The only way I have ever found that out anywhere I live is by seeing it on incoming mail.

  2. I was a young'un when they started using zip codes too. Heck, I even remember when you could put just the street address with the word 'city' for the city if it wasn't being posted out of town.

    I’m hosting Z to A in May, but I’m blogging at:
    Ross County Roundup

  3. Those additional four number codes are a pain, for certain. I don't remember sending mail within the city when I was that age, so don't recall just being able to use street address. Things have changed a lot during the years! Thanks, ladies, for stopping by.

  4. Postcodes used in many different ways with code files US postal services is dependent on this database zip code.