In the small resort town of Mossel Bay, which is located near the Cape of Good Hope, there is a monument to the world's first mailbox. True, it looks unusual - in the form of a shoe made of concrete. An expedition of the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeo Diaz arrived here in 1500, discovering a cape on the southern outskirts of Africa. Here the sailors got into a terrible storm, after which only one ship survived. Realizing that there was little chance of getting to their homeland, the sailors left a letter on the shore, in which they described their adventures in detail.
They put the letter in a shoe and hung it on a tree, hoping that someone would find it and inform about the tragic fate of the expedition. A year later, the manuscript was found by their fellow countrymen from Portugal. Many years later, a monument was erected here, which, by the way, continued to play the role of a mailbox.
Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, wanting to know about the real state of affairs in the state, ordered to hang a long wooden box near his palace in Kolomenskoye, where anyone could put a letter of complaint or petition. But the solution of the issue had to wait a long time, and most of the "sharp" letters did not reach the king at all. And so the expression "put on the back burner" appeared.
In the 16th century, similar boxes were common in Florence. They hung them on the door of the town hall. And the purpose was the same as that of our "long box" - the collection of information about corruption and bad designs against the rulers. Half of the coin was supposed to be attached to the anonymous letter. If the information was confirmed, the author of the message received a reward by presenting a kind of "password" - the second half of the coin.
Mailboxes for collecting ordinary letters in our country appeared in 1848 in the two largest cities - St. Petersburg and Moscow. The first boxes were made of cast iron and weighed about three poods so as not to be stolen.
In 1928, mobile mailboxes appeared in Moscow, which were attached to trams, the route of which passed the main post office. The innovation was not widespread: in order to send a letter, you had to wait for the tram, and the postmen had to watch it in order to pick up the mail.
In Vienna in the 18th century, mailboxes also traveled around the city, moreover, on the back of a postman. This post was called "ratchet". To notify of his approach, the postman had to use a special ratchet.
Citizens of the USSR, of course, remember that in large cities of the country, mailboxes were of two colors. Blue for long distance mail and red for letters within the city.
In addition, the expression "mailbox" in the USSR meant not only a container for collecting correspondence, but also a secret enterprise, which did not indicate the usual address, but only the number of the mailbox.
An American pensioner named Harry found an unusual way of earning money. On every banknote that came into his hands, he writes something like this: "Please return this banknote to me, I am very poor." And he indicates his mailing address. Having paid with a bill in a store, all that remains is to regularly check the mailbox - a significant part of the money is, in fact, returned. At the same time, many generous people also add their own money.