On this day, March 9th, in 1858, Philadelphia resident, Albert Potts patented his design for a lamppost mounted collection mailbox. It was designed to be a mailbox mounted to a lamppost. In this way, people could drop their letters into the box instead of having to make a trip to the post office to mail their letters.
The Potts mailbox was the first of the postal system’s street collection mailboxes, but it proved too small for the job. Over the next few decades, other inventors and designers patented a variety of “new and improved” collection mailboxes.