Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Holidays and Observances for July 1 2015

American Zoo Day

July 1st, is American Zoo Day. It’s a celebration of the opening day of the first zoo in America, the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened in 1874. The Philadelphia Zoo’s 42-acre garden is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of them rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. Cheetahs, hippos, giraffes and much more make the Zoo Philadelphia's leading family attraction with over 1.35 million visitors last year.

Like many other Philadelphia landmarks and institutions, the Philadelphia Zoo is an American first. The charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was approved and signed on March 21, 1859. Due to the Civil War, however, it was another 15 years before America's first zoo was ready to open.

The Zoo opened its gates on July 1, 1874. The Frank Furness Victorian gates and gatehouses, and the Zoo's location, are the same today as they were on the day it opened. One of its assets, then and now, is John Penn's home, The Solitude, which sat on the land chosen for the Zoo. John Penn was the grandson of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. The Solitude is considered to be Philadelphia's most precise and elegant expression of neoclassical style.

On opening day, flags flew, and a brass band welcomed more than 3,000 visitors. Admission was 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children, a rate that held for the next half century. Visitors came on foot, on streetcars, by horse and carriage, and every 15 minutes by steamboat on the Schuylkill River, landing at the Zoo's own wharf. The Girard Avenue Bridge opened three days later.

Since the early 1700s, the idea of an American zoo was inspired by English settlers with a keen interest in wildlife and by sailors and hunters who returned from faraway lands with exotic animals they'd never seen before. People would gather and pay shillings to see animals such as lions and elephants displayed at places like general stores and museums. As a hub of scientific inquiry and discovery over many years, Philadelphia's well-known leaders of the time began to formulate the idea of a zoo. In the mid-1850's, a prominent Philadelphia physician, Dr. William Camac-the Zoo's founding father-became involved and led the way to making America's first zoo a reality.

In its first year of operation, the Philadelphia Zoo had 813 animals and received well over 228,000 visitors. Today, the Zoo has more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals, and its attendance is approximately 1.35 million visitors a year.

The weather is suppose to be hot, but the zoo has a number of interesting exhibits located in air-conditioned facilities which allow an escape from the heat. One of Audubon Zoo’s most unique attractions is the white alligator exhibit located in the swamp exhibit. These alligators are extremely rare because they are not albino, but leucistic. This means they have a pigmentation aberration responsible for their pearly white skin and blue eyes, which is unlike albinos which have pink eyes due to total lack of pigmentation. Until two baby leucistic alligators were discovered in the swamps of Louisiana in 2009, only twelve other leucistic alligators were known to exist. All of these alligators were found in the Louisiana swamp, and two of them are on display at the Audubon Zoo.

In addition to the air-conditioned portion of the swamp exhibit, there is also the reptile house. It is home to a variety of interesting an unique snakes, lizards, and amphibians. Currently on display is a two-headed Gopher snake. This creature is the result of a rare genetic anomaly, and it’s not something a person gets to see everyday, which makes it something worth seeing.

If you want to view all the other animals in the zoo, there is still some heat relief offered by the misting machines scattered throughout the zoo. And, of course, you can try to beat the heat by getting there at opening, 10 am, before the temperatures reach their full power.

International Chicken Wing Day

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, chicken wings are finding themselves onto every conceivable menu around the world. There seems to be as many variations on a theme as there are cuisines to go with them, from parmesan garlic crispy wings to honey barbecue wings with a soft rich breading, there is no limit to what these delicious bits of bird flesh can make better.

With such variety available, it’s unsurprising that they have become so popular as a snack food for everything from celebrating huge sports events, to birthday parties, and even weddings. It’s so easy to coordinate this dish with anything else you happen to be serving! Cooking Mexican? Then soak them in a chili sauce and light your mouth afire, preparing Italian, the parmesan garlic wings mentioned earlier are perfect, and this is just a beginning.

How to Observe International Chicken Wing Day
You’ll be happy to hear that the best way to observe International Chicken Wing Day is by, quite simply, eating a ton of chicken wings! Get a bunch of friends together and challenge each of them to come up with a unique and interesting variation on this versatile food. If not in your own backyard then have everyone get together at one of the growing numbers of stores and chains that carry these sometimes mouth-searing treats, and eat them out of business!

Chicken Wings can be prepared in a number of ways, though they are traditionally fried. But what are traditions for if not breaking? The most popular of all wings, the Buffalo Wing, set the standard for them, breaded, fried, and tossed in a delicious spicy sauce. But baking and even slow cooking have become popular methods of preparation. Below are a few recipes to try for your own International Chicken Wing Day celebration.

  • Slow Cooked Pepper Wings
Ingredients: 6 pounds chicken wings, 12oz of Chile Sauce, ¼ cup molasses, 6 drops jalapeno sauce, 3t Chili Powder, 2t Garlic powder, 2t Onion Powder, 2t salt

Put the chicken into a slow cooker and mix the other ingredients separately, and then pour over the chicken. Put the slow cooker on medium low setting for approximately 5 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure they’re evenly coated.
  • Hawaiian Lime Chicken Wings
Ingredients: 36 whole chicken wings split, 1/4c pineapple juice, 1/4c honey, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1/4t of salt, 1/2t black pepper, 1c flour, 2 quarts vegetable oil

Mix together the pineapple, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Place the flour in a bag, and toss the chicken wings in there until fully coated. Then fry the chicken wings in 1” of vegetable oil until cooked through, and then toss in the honey/pineapple/lime mixture until thoroughly coated, and serve.

These two recipes will give you a great start to your International Chicken Wing Day celebration, and serve as a fantastic base for many others to come. The Hawaiian Lime Chicken wings are a great base for any recipe, you just have to change what you toss them in after the fry, and voila, a new creation! Don’t be afraid to try new things, there’s not really such a thing as a bad chicken wing!

International Joke Day

Each year International Joke Day is celebrated on 1st July. This day is prominently for laugh out loud with your friends and dear ones. International Joke Day may appear to be no serious stuff for many but the day speaks volumes about itself. Joke day can be an awesome opportunity to act humorously and laugh your heart out.

Although the creator or the origin of the day isn't very clear and known, it is still celebrated around the world as it a happy holiday. It is said that laughter is a remedy to all ailments then why wait for any other day than the “International Joke Day”.

It is believed that the first joke originated in ancient Greece by Palamedes. He shot to fame for outmatching Odysseus before the Trojan War. A laughter club was first formed in 350 BC. That indicates that humans have always enjoyed cracking jokes and having a good laugh. It is the primary nature of humans to swap jokes and witticisms and this is what keeps us apart from animals.

Many people across the planet are suffering from pain and agony. Reasons may differ but it is certainly a painful sight to witness suffering people. But on International Joke Day, everyone can spread a little laugh to not only to their near and dear ones but also to the entire world. There is no bigger exhilaration in this world than being happy and spread happiness. Cracking a zestful joke or two, making funny gestures, rotating mirthful videos, passing jokes through email etc. are all those activities that are mostly popular on July 1.

It is said that laughter is contagious. The more you laugh, better are the probabilities of you attributing to make the world a better place to live in. Medical science has also accepted that laughing enables you to fight off illnesses by catapulting your immune system.

On International Joke Day, people use to crack some funny jokes and make others feel happier and better. We should never forget the Japanese proverb, “time spent laughing is time spent with God”.

National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

The month of July was proclaimed National Ice Cream Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and with good reason. This is an ideal time of year to cool off with a sweet, frozen treat. Several ice cream-related holidays fall within this month, including National Strawberry Sundae Day, National Peach Ice Cream Day and National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, among others.

On the 1st day of this dessert-laden month falls National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day, which encourages celebrators to let their imaginations go wild and add any ingredients to their sundaes that their hearts desire. If you have ever thought of an ice cream flavor that you are curious to try, today is the day to test it out.

Like many other food holidays, the origins of National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day are not easily known. Many such holidays are the creations of food companies or organizations with vested interest in a particular food.

We can, however, gain some insight into the holiday based on the history of National Ice Cream Month. The International Dairy Foods Association claims that, upon signing the official proclamation, Reagan requested that the month be marked by various celebrations and events relating to ice cream.

In July of 2009, a celebratory speech about the month was made at the closing bell of the stock market at the NASDAQ Times Square studio. "National Ice Cream Month encourages ice cream makers, scoop shops and chefs to come up with new and exciting flavors for their customers throughout the month of July," stated David Wicks, vice president of NASDAQ OMX Group.

For National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day, you can expect to find new flavors of ice cream presented at ice cream parlors and restaurants. You can also celebrate by throwing an ice cream party at home, and encouraging guests to add their own toppings and sauces to discover new ice cream flavor combinations.

National Flash a Trucker Day

National Flash a Trucker Day is celebrated on July 1st of each year. Nicki Hunter of Night Calls on Playboy radio designated July 1st as Flash a Trucker Day in 2011. The idea is to, well, flash a trucker.

A truck driver (commonly referred to as a trucker or driver in the United States and Canada; a truckie in Australia and New Zealand; a lorry driver or driver in Ireland and the United Kingdom), is a person who earns a living as the driver of a truck, usually a semi truck, box truck, or dump truck.

Truck drivers provide an essential service to industrialized societies by transporting finished goods and raw materials over land, typically to and from manufacturing plants, retail and distribution centers. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting their vehicles for mechanical items or issues relating to safe operation. Others, such as driver/sales workers, are also responsible for sales and customer service.

National Gingersnap Day

National Gingersnap Day, is celebrated on July 1, giving lovers of crisp, fragrant cookies a reason to celebrate. 

Many of us remember gingersnaps from the days of our youth, but the cookies have many benefits for adults, as well. As far as cookies go, these are relatively low in calories (with about 110 per serving), and the ginger provides several health benefits. It is often used to treat nausea and other digestive maladies, and has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease arthritis. It has even been used to fight heart diseases and other major illnesses.

It is difficult to find any information on the origins of National Gingersnap Day, but the history of the gingersnap itself goes back for centuries. Cookies, breads and other baked goods were commonly flavored with spices such as ginger in the middle ages, and cookies similar to what Americans know as gingersnaps have long been produced in England and in Germany. Gingersnaps may be eaten as snacks on their own, or used to top desserts such as ice cream, gelato or mousse.

Major celebrations of National Gingersnap Day can be hard to find, but there may be regional celebrations going on. Local bakeries and food stores may hold gingersnap sales or bake up a special cookie for the occasion. In addition, manufacturers of gingersnaps may hold celebrations of some sort. You can celebrate by enjoying some of the cookies yourself, or by baking up a batch to share.

National GSA Employee Day

GSA was established by President Harry Truman on July 1, 1949, to streamline the administrative work of the federal government. GSA consolidated the National Archives Establishment, the Federal Works Agency, and the Public Buildings Administration; the Bureau of Federal Supply and the Office of Contract Settlement; and the War Assets Administration into one federal agency tasked with administering supplies and providing workplaces for federal employees. 

GSA’s original mission was to dispose of war surplus goods, manage and store government records, handle emergency preparedness, and stockpile strategic supplies for wartime. GSA also regulated the sale of various office supplies to federal agencies and managed some unusual operations, such as hemp plantations in South America.

Today, through its two largest offices – the Public Buildings Service and the Federal Acquisition Service – and various staff offices, GSA provides workspace to more than 1 million federal civilian workers, oversees the preservation of more than 480 historic buildings, and facilitates the federal  government's purchase of high-quality, low-cost goods and services from quality commercial vendors.

1950s and 1960s
In the 1950s, GSA took on a major overhaul of the White House. “Really it was more than a renovation; it was a rebuilding,” recalled inaugural Administrator Jess Larson.

GSA took on the critical assignment of emergency preparedness and began stockpiling strategic materials to be used in wartime. GSA retained various emergency management functions until they were transferred to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1979.

In 1960, GSA created the Federal Telecommunications System, a governmentwide intercity telephone system. In 1962, the Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space recommended a major new building program to address obsolete office buildings in Washington, D.C., resulting in the construction of many of the offices that now line Independence Avenue.

1970s and 1980s
In 1970, the Nixon administration created the Consumer Product Information Coordinating Center. Now called the Federal Citizen Information Center, FCIC has distributed millions of consumer information publications from its Pueblo, Colo. facility.

Authorized in 1971, the Federal Buildings Fund became operational in 1974 when GSA issued its first rent bills to federal agencies. In 1972, GSA established the Automated Data and Telecommunications Service, which evolved into the Office of Information Resources Management 10 years later.

GSA also became involved in administrative policy issues. In 1973, GSA created the Office of Federal Management Policy. GSA’s Office of Acquisition Policy centralized procurement policy in 1978. In 1985 GSA began to provide governmentwide policy oversight and guidance for federal real property management as a result of an Executive Order signed by President Ronald Reagan.

In 1984, GSA introduced the federal government to the use of charge cards. Today, the GSA SmartPay program has more than 3 million card holders. In 1987, GSA opened its first child care center, and now manages 110 federal child care facilities for more than 8,300 children across the country.

By 1995, all of GSA's policy functions had been merged into the Office of Government-wide Policy, which sets policy in the areas of personal and real property, travel, transportation, information technology, regulatory information, and use of federal advisory committees.

Inspired by the "Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture," written in 1962 by the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, in 1994 GSA's Public Building Service  introduced the Design Excellence Program to streamline the way it selects architects and engineers for major construction projects. The program has resulted in outstanding and enduring examples of federal architecture.

In 1995, GSA formed the Courthouse Management Group to manage the largest courthouse construction project in 50 years. The project has resulted in the renovation or rebuilding of federal courthouses across the nation.

As the agency transformed itself to enter the 21st century, GSA embraced new technologies, launched electronic government initiatives, and helped develop means of doing government business on the Internet.

In the1990s, GSA developed GSA Advantage!™, an online portal for federal employees to purchase services and equipment through GSA. In September 2000, GSA launched to simplify public access to government information and services.

In 2001, GSA assumed responsibility for President George W. Bush’s E-Gov Initiatives: E-Authentication, E-Gov Travel, Federal Asset Sales, and the Integrated Acquisition Environment.

In July 2002, GSA established the Office of Citizen Services and Communications (now called the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies) to manage its citizen-centered activities in a single organization. The Office of Citizen Services enabled state and local governments, the public, businesses, and the media to interact with the federal government online, via email, telephone, fax, or print. 

After having merged the Information Technology Service and the Federal Telecommunication Service into the Federal Technology Service in the 1990s, GSA consolidated FTS into the Federal Acquisition Service in 2007 to better align the delivery of its services in an ever-changing business world.

In 2007, GSA changed the name of the federal government portal from to With redesigned navigation, makes it easier for the public to get U.S. government information and services on the web. Also in 2007, GSA launched, which makes federal, state and local government information and services more accessible to those who speak Spanish.

This new use of technology came as GSA was returning to one of its original functions – emergency preparedness. In November 2006, GSA established the Office of Emergency Response and Recovery {now called the Office of Mission Assurance} to better assist the country during national disasters.

To comply with President Bush's National Continuity Policy, in 2007, GSA implemented  the National Continuity Policy Implementation Plan to ensure the timely recovery of the executive branch from any operational interruption and provide a centralized procurement system for all department and agencies.

In 2009, a new Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies was created to foster public engagement by using innovative technologies to connect the public to government information and services.

A 2009-2010 milestone was the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act efforts. With the goal of transforming federal buildings into higher performing, greener buildings, GSA awarded billions in Recovery Act construction funding to more than 500 companies in all 50 states, two territories and the District of Columbia. Here is the breakdown of Recovery Act dollars spent:
  • $4.5 billion: Federal building conversion to high-performance green spaces
  • $750 million: Federal building and courthouse renovations
  • $300 million: Fuel-efficient vehicles
  • $300 million: Land ports of entry renovation and construction
GSA’s 2010 Sustainability Plan sets an agency goal for a zero environmental footprint and a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by greening the federal supply chain and creating sustainable innovation within its building portfolio.

In 2010, GSA became the first federal agency to move email to a cloud-based system to reduce inefficiencies and lower costs by 50 percent over the next five years.

President Barack Obama’s Open Government Directive instructed federal agencies to actively open their operations to the public. To that end, GSA developed, a website to foster democracy, information sharing, and transparency.

The list of GSA citizen-focused websites and social media outreach efforts continued to grow and by 2010 included a Social Media Directory and the following websites:
  •, the official portal of the U.S. government
  •, the Spanish-language counterpart to
  •, a blog that showcases the usefulness, practicality helpfulness, and vitality of federal, state, and local government information
  •, providing public access to hundreds of the best federal publications
  •, a consumer help site built around FCIC's popular Consumer Action Handbook
  • Consumidor.Gov, the Spanish-language counterpart to
  •, a portal to government websites designed especially for children
  •, a portal for government to access cloud, productivity, business, and social media technology
  • a real-time search of government notifications so the public can follow government news — by email, text message, or RSS feed.
  •, a public engagement platform.
In 2010, GSA began modernizing its 60-year-old headquarters building in Washington, D.C., which, when completed, will be a model of sustainability and government efficiency.

In 2012 – for the seventh year in a row – GSA was named to the Top 10 Best Places to Work in Federal Government by the Partnership for Public Service.

National Postal Worker Day

National Postal Worker Day is celebrated each year on July 1st. This is a day to thank postal workers for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Richard Baker, a former postal employee in the Seattle area, states that he founded National Postal Worker Day in 1997 with the assistance of USPS senior management by having the day added to Chase’s Calendar of Events.

A postal worker is one who works for a post office, such as a mail carrier. In the U.S., postal workers are represented by the National Postal Mail Handlers Union - NPMHU, the National Association of Rural Letter Carriers and the American Postal Workers Union, part of the AFL-CIO. In Canada, they are represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and in the United Kingdom by the Communication Workers Union.

The US Postal Service employs around 584,000 people. The bulk of these work as:
  • Service Clerks - Sell stamps and postage, help people pick up packages and assist with other services such as passports.
  • Mail Sorters - Physically sort the mail to go to the correct place. As automation has become more common, some of these people now operate the sorting machines.
  • Mail Carriers - Deliver the mail. In densely populated areas this is done on foot. In urban areas the carriers often use a mail truck and in rural areas carriers drive their own vehicles.
Most postal workers in the US make between $36,000 and $43,000 per year.

The phrase was not very often used until a spate of workplace violence incidents by postal workers in the late 1980s made headlines. The incidents also led to the coining of the phrase "going postal".

Second Half of the Year Day

July 1st (the 182nd Day of the Year) marks Second Second Half of the Year Day – a chance to step back, evaluate your year so far with your goals and objectives (never mind the new year’s resolutions which likely didn’t last until February…) and to take action to get back on track if necessary. It’s a great opportunity to do some hard thinking over your finances, your diet, your career and other aspects of your life that you might want to improve. Make the second half of the year count!

U.S. Postage Stamp Day

The five- and ten-cent stamps of 1847 were the first adhesive postage stamps authorized for issue by the U.S. Post Office Department, in response to a law passed on March 3, 1847. The law was to take effect on July 1, 1847 and made illegal the use of postage stamps not authorized by the Postmaster General. It is something of a surprise that no two-cent stamp was issued, since two cents was the rate for drop letters, letters that were dropped off (mailed from) and picked up at the same Post Office. 

Although the first stamps were supposed to be made available to the public by July 1, only the New York City Post Office received any stamps by that day, followed by Boston a day later, on July 2. 

Covers with July 1847 dates are exceptionally rare and much sought after by collectors. The five-cent stamp paid for domestic letters within a 300 mile radius of the post office from which it was sent, and the ten-cent stamp for anything beyond that. 

Many of the pre-July 1, 1847 stamps, including carriers, locals and provisionals, are items of great philatelic importance, but they are not covered here since they were not issued by authority of the U.S. Post Office Department. An excellent starting point to this fascinating subject may be found on the Carriers and Locals Society web site. 

The requirement to prepay the postage was not part of this new law, and many letters were sent as they always had been, without stamps. It was expected that the person who received the letter would pay the fee. Drop letters would of course fall in this category, since there was no provision for a two-cent stamp. See the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society for more on the subject of stampless letters. 

It must be pointed out that a great many of the letters of the day were sent stampless, that is without pre-payment. In fact, Carroll Chase estimated that only about one letter in fifty actually bore one of the 1847 issue stamps and the rest were to be paid on delivery. As can be imagined, there was some abuse when letters were distributed without pre-payment. Often a coded message was placed on the outside of a letter, and the recipient did not need to open the letter to determine its intent, leaving the mail carrier unpaid for his efforts. This abuse was curtailed somewhat in 1851 when the fee for a prepaid letter was dropped to three cents, meaning there was a two cent penalty for stampless letters, which still cost the addressee five cents. Finally, in 1855, it was required that all letters be prepaid and it has remained that way since. 

The New York City bank note engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson were given a four year contract to print the first American postage stamps. The initials: "RWH&E" are clearly engraved at the bottom of both stamps. The firm did not come up with new designs for these important stamps, rather the engravings have been attributed to the portrait engraver Asher Brown Durand. According to Brazer, the identical Durand engraving of Franklin on the five-cent stamp, Scott #1, had appeared on a $2.00 bank note of the Chemical Bank of New York, and the identical Durand engraving of Washington on the ten-cent stamp, Scott #2, had appeared on a $5.00 bank note of the Fairfield County Bank (Connecticut). It is quite likely that the vignettes from the dies used to make these bank notes were used to make the dies for the new stamp designs. 

Often overlooked is that these two stamps were originally proposed as bi-color stamps.  In early submissions RWH&E suggested that the denominations be overprinted in red ink as a security measure, a common method of thwarting counterfeiters of paper money at the time, but the cost proved to be too high and the stamps were issued in the colors we know today, the five-cent in various shades of brown and the ten-cent in black. 

In 1851, when the contract with Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson came to an end, the government solicited bids for the next series of stamps. At the same time they demonetized the stamps of 1847. After July 1, 1851, the first two U.S. stamps were no longer valid for postage. This has happened only one other time since, in 1861, when the Civil War required the Union to issue a new set of stamps to thwart the delivery of Confederate letters. All U.S. stamps since 1861 are still valid for use to pay the postage necessary to deliver a letter in the U.S. 

There is some confusion as to whether more than one plate was used to print the five-cent stamp. Elliott Perry of "Pat Paragraphs" fame accomplished a major feat in U.S. philately by plating the ten-cent stamp and thereby proving that only one plate of 200 subjects of the ten-cent had ever existed. 

One of the greatest American philatelists, Stanley Ashbrook, claimed that plating the five-cent stamp might prove impossible, since many of the printings are indistinct. It might seem strange that nearly every ten-cent stamp is sharp and crisply printed, while many of the five-cent stamps appear dull, muddy, and anything but sharp. Part of the problem is thought to be the poor quality of the brown ink used to print the stamps, or perhaps the way the ink was handled. Still, with the advent of the Internet and the ability to share crisp clean images from today's high quality scanners, the possibility of plating the five-cent stamp might come back within the realm of possibility, should a group of motivated researchers pool their resources. Perhaps the debate as to whether there was a "later" plate of the five-cent stamp may be put to rest, just as Perry did with the ten-cent stamp. 

The five-cent stamp provides collectors with a fascinating variety of shades, running the gamut of pale brown to a very dark brown (nearly black), from red browns to a bright orange brown, from olive browns to violet browns, and even a full orange. A worthwhile and well-thought six-part treatise on the subject of color varieties on the 1847 five-cent stamp, written by Calvet M. Hahn, has been made available on the Internet through the New York Chapter of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. 

There is some confusion as to whether RWH&E destroyed all the dies and plates used to print these stamps. At any rate, in 1875, when the re-issues of all of the previous U.S. stamps were made, new dies needed to be created for the five- and ten-cent stamps of 1847. These "Special Printings" or "Reproductions" are readily distinguished from the regularly printed stamps. It is perhaps unfortunate that Scott assigned catalog numbers of #3 and #4 to these stamps, since they were never intended as postage stamps, and they certainly were not the third and fourth U.S. postage stamps.

Zip Code Day

The change in character of the mail, the tremendous increase in mail volume, and the revolution in transportation, coupled with the steep rise in manpower costs, made adoption of modern technology imperative and helped produce the ZIP Code or Zoning Improvement Plan.
Despite the growing transport accessibility offered by the airlines, the Post Office Department in 1930 still moved the bulk of its domestic mail by rail, massing, re-sorting, and redistributing it for long distance hauling through the major railroad hubs of the nation. More than 10,000 mail-carrying trains crisscrossed the country, moving round the clock into virtually every village and metropolitan area.

The railroads' peak year may have been 1930. By 1963, fewer trains, making fewer stops, carried the mail. In these same years, 1930-1963, the United States underwent many changes. It suffered through a prolonged and paralyzing depression, fought its second World War of the 20th century, and moved from an agricultural economy to a highly industrial one of international preeminence. The character, volume, and transportation of mail also changed.

The social correspondence of the earlier century gave way, gradually at first, and then explosively, to business mail. By 1963, business mail constituted 80 percent of the total volume. The single greatest impetus in this great outpouring of business mail was the computer, which brought centralization of accounts and a growing mass of utility bills and payments, bank deposits and receipts, advertisements, magazines, insurance premiums, credit card transactions, department store and mortgage billings, and payments, dividends, and Social Security checks traveling through the mail.

In June 1962, the Presidentially appointed Advisory Board of the Post Office Department, after a study of its overall mechanization problems, made several primary recommendations. One was that the Department give priority to the development of a coding system, an idea that had been under consideration in the Department for a decade or more.

Over the years, a number of potential coding programs had been examined and discarded. Finally, in 1963, the Department selected a system advanced by department officials, and, on April 30, 1963, Postmaster General John A. Gronouski announced that the ZIP Code would begin on July 1, 1963.

Preparing for the new system was a major task involving realignment of the mail system. The Post Office had recognized some years back that new avenues of transportation would open to the Department and began to establish focal points for air, highway, and rail transportation. Called the Metro System, these transportation centers were set up around 85 of the country's larger cities to deflect mail from congested, heavily traveled city streets. The Metro concept was expanded and eventually became the core of 552 sectional centers, each serving between 40 and 150 surrounding post offices.

Once these sectional centers were delineated, the next step in establishing the ZIP Code was to assign codes to the centers and the postal addresses they served. The existence of postal zones in the larger cities, set in motion in 1943, helped to some extent, but, in cases where the old zones failed to fit within the delivery areas, new numbers had to be assigned.

By July 1963, a five-digit code had been assigned to every address throughout the country. The first digit designated a broad geographical area of the United States, ranging from zero for the Northeast to nine for the far West. This was followed by two digits that more closely pinpointed population concentrations and those sectional centers accessible to common transportation networks. The final two digits designated small post offices or postal zones in larger zoned cities.

ZIP Code began on July 1, 1963, as scheduled. Use of the new code was not mandatory at first for anyone, but, in 1967, the Post Office required mailers of second- and third-class bulk mail to presort by ZIP Code. Although the public and mailers alike adapted well to its use, it was not enough.

Introduced in 1983, the ZIP+4 code added a hyphen and four digits to the existing five-digit ZIP Code. The first five numbers continued to identify an area of the country and delivery office to which mail is directed. The sixth and seventh numbers denote a delivery sector, which may be several blocks, a group of streets, a group of post office boxes, several office buildings, a single high-rise office building, a large apartment building, or a small geographic area. The last two numbers denote a delivery segment, which might be one floor of an office building, one side of a street between intersecting streets, specific departments in a firm, or a group of post office boxes.
On October 1, 1983, the Governors of the Postal Service approved price incentives for First-Class Mail bearing the ZIP+4 code.

By the end of 1984, 252 OCRs were installed in 118 major mail processing centers across the country and were processing 24,000 pieces of mail per hour (an average productivity rate of 6,200 pieces per work hour) -- a substantial increase compared to the 1,750 pieces per work hour processed by MPLSMs.

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