Mail Wagon Used for Rural Delivery in Missouri, 1902-1925

Summary

When August Edinger of Kimmswick, Missouri, bought this mail wagon in 1902, he was part of a "communications revolution" sweeping the American countryside. That year, Congress made rural postal routes -- operated in a few areas since 1896 -- a permanent part of the postal service. Instead of having to make a trip to town a few times a week, rural inhabitants now had their mail delivered each day to their farms. Edinger's rural customers opened their roadside mailboxes to find daily newspapers, letters from family and friends, and mail order catalogs offering the latest in goods for home and farm. Farm dwellers became more connected with the rest of the nation. Like other rural postal carriers, Edinger was required to supply and maintain his own vehicle. Many postmen chose a light mail wagon like this one, while others adapted their personal wagons or buggies for this work. Edinger's mail wagon has an unusual feature -- a tiny coal-burning stove, with its stack running through the roof, to provide warmth in cold weather. Edinger used this horse-drawn wagon until 1925, when he replaced it with a Ford Model T automobile.

When August Edinger of Kimmswick, Missouri, bought this mail wagon in 1902, he was part of a "communications revolution" sweeping the American countryside. That year, Congress made rural postal routes -- operated in a few areas since 1896 -- a permanent part of the postal service. Instead of having to make a trip to town a few times a week, rural inhabitants now had their mail delivered each day to their farms. Edinger's rural customers opened their roadside mailboxes to find daily newspapers, letters from family and friends, and mail order catalogs offering the latest in goods for home and farm. Farm dwellers became more connected with the rest of the nation. Like other rural postal carriers, Edinger was required to supply and maintain his own vehicle. Many postmen chose a light mail wagon like this one, while others adapted their personal wagons or buggies for this work. Edinger's mail wagon has an unusual feature -- a tiny coal-burning stove, with its stack running through the roof, to provide warmth in cold weather. Edinger used this horse-drawn wagon until 1925, when he replaced it with a Ford Model T automobile.

Artifact

Mail wagon

Date Made

1901-1902

Subject Date

1902-1925

Creators

Unknown

Place of Creation

United States 

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

34.150.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of August Edinger.

Material

Paint (Coating)
Wood (Plant material)

Color

Red
White (Color)

Dimensions

Height: 82 in

Width: 69 in

Length: 213 in

Wheelbase: 58 in

Diameter: 40 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Diameter: 43.5 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Inscriptions

Painted on side of wagon and on back of box in rear: U. S. / MAIL

August Edinger with Horse-Drawn Mail Wagon, circa ...

Details
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