Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Day in History: Pony Express "when it absolutely, positively has to be there in about a fortnight"

ST. JOSEPH, MO - The first speedy transcontinental mail service in the United States offered an economy option this day in 1861.

Pony Express -- or PonEx, as it was commonly known in the day -- launched a poster campaign with the slogan "When it absolutely, positively has to be there in about a fortnight". Mail customers who could not afford the $5.00 per half ounce standard rate could now send letters slower for a reduced rate.

A recruitment drive accompanied the ad campaign, seeking riders outside the service's usual "young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over 18". Older, paunchier riders briefly delivered mail alongside, if a little behind, the regular riders for the journey between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.

Unfortunately, the advent of the transcontinental telegraph sealed the fate of PonEx within the year.
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