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Door knocker for letter carriers

circa 1864

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Some letter carriers chose to use wooden, dumb-bell shaped door knockers on their city free delivery service rounds. Convenient, light-weight, and easy to grasp, the knocker saved wear and tear on hands and sounded a load crack to announce the carrier’s arrival.

The postman really did ring twice, or knocked, or blew a whistle. Letter carriers waited for someone to answer their signal, if no one was home, they took the mail back to the post office and tried again the next day. Studies showed carriers spent an average of two hours daily waiting at the doorstep. To save work hours, the Post Office Department required residents to install mailboxes or letter slots in 1916.

Museum ID: 0.263796.1

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  • Title: Door knocker for letter carriers
  • Date Created: circa 1864
  • Physical Dimensions: 5.1 x 5.1 x 5.1 cm
  • Subject Keywords: letter carriers
  • External Link: Door Knocker video
  • Medium: wood
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