Rural letter carrier's carriage heater

circa 1917

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

The slope of the triangular-shaped heater’s top made a comfortable resting spot to warm one’s feet. The drawer held hot coals to fuel the heater. When new, a carpet covered the metal case.

Appealing to rural delivery service carriers working country routes in all weather conditions, carriage heaters made by various companies were frequently advertised in the periodical RFD News. Rural letter carrier Arthur J. Bessen used this foot warmer while delivering mail in his enclosed wagon. Bessen purchased the heater “a short time after” he started as a rural carrier on October 29, 1917. Bessen retired in October 1965 with forty-eight years of service.

Museum ID: 1985.0209.1

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  • Title: Rural letter carrier's carriage heater
  • Date Created: circa 1917
  • Physical Dimensions: 12 x 17.8 x 33.7 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Rural Free Delivery
  • External Link: RFD Carriage Heater
  • Medium: metal