Everyday packages make the grand journey from coast to coast, crossing rolling plains and majestic mountains. Forgive us for being poetic, but it sounds like the spirit of the Wild West is still alive and kicking… and we’re no strangers, considering we’ve wrangled wild horses in our Ernest Challenge! Put on your cowboy boots and spurs, because we’re celebrating history’s delivery service, the Pony Express!
Our nation’s trans-continental mail service was born out of necessity. As Americans moved westward in pursuit of new lives, the postal service failed to keep up. Anyone attempting to send mail further than Missouri had limited, inconvenient delivery options, until entrepreneurial westerners slapped mailbags on horses and put them to work.
Pony Express delivery took roughly ten days to deliver a package from coast to coast, a distance of over 2,000 miles. The next-fastest delivery option was by stagecoach, which took more than twice as long! When the Pony Express was finally laid to rest after a year and a half, it had delivered an astonishing 35,000 pieces of mail.
In an era where we can order packages and have them delivered within hours, it’s difficult to fathom waiting that long for your coveted package to arrive. While shipping times have undoubtedly improved, the mindset behind how we prepare our packages for transportation owes a great deal to the mailmen who braved the wild west.
The Pony Express only employed riders who weighed less than 125 pounds as to not burden their horse. This hiring practice allowed horses to carry more cargo, and package size was limited to what the deliverymen could fit into a small knapsack. These practices – keeping weight and dimension to a minimum – still form the foundation of how we charge for shipping!
Dimension weight – or dim weight – is how your package is measured when deciding the cost of shipping. The physical size of your package and its weight are both taken into consideration, and there’s a lot you can do to save at the post office. Ernest has got you covered. Read more on dim weight, and download our Dim Weight app to see how your packaging measures up!