28 days of Black Inventions: Modern Day Mailbox

28 days of Black Inventions

February 1st, 2017

As we normally do this time of year, we’re going to celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging 28 of the most influential, world changing inventions by Black People. Our goal is to shed light on some inventions that most people probably didn’t know about, some of the lessor known inventions as well some of the more notable inventions. So join us on our 28 day journey and you might learn a thing or two.

Modern Day Mailbox

Ever imagine the days before E-Mail? When you had to actually send letters through the Post Office. This was once the most reliable way of sending and receiving letters. There was a time you had to make the sometimes long journey to the local Post Office just to mail a letter. Then a long comes an idea that would shape the future and provide a convenient method of sending letters via mail. The Mail Box, a contraption that allowed people to send letters without having to go to the Post Office for such a tedious task.

Dr. Phillip B. Downing

Modern Mailbox

In 1858, Inventor Albert Potts came up with an idea of having Mailboxes situated around the town to provide a easier way to send mail. He invented a the letter box. It was a small box that people could drop off they’re letters to be mailed. However, there was a problem. The Letter Box was small and required constant removal of the letters. Thus forcing the Postman to make several trips a day to retrieve the letters that needed to be sent off. Also it wasn’t safe as it was very easy for thieves and people to open and close and remove letters as they pleased.

Dr. Phillip B Downing


Dr. Phllip B. Downing

Along comes a man Dr. Phillip B. Downing, an Inventor, he improved on the idea of the letter box and created/invented was is commonly known as the “Modern Mailbox” which is still being used by the United States Postal Service. He designed the safety door which allowed people to insert their letters into the “Street Letter Box” (it’s official patented name) once the door contraption door was closed it was safely stored away until removal by the USPS. This changed the way mail was sent and made it extremely useful as the population grew and Mail Carriers had an outpost to pick up Mail and begin the Modern day era of sending mail without having to go to the Post Office. On October 27th, 1891 his design was Patented

Editors Note: Dr. Phillip B. Downing DID NOT invent the idea of the MailBox, He improved on the idea, and made it safer to use & that concept and design is still in use today. #Thankyou



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