U.S. Post Office Department Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) cap badge, number 6000, with vertical hinged pin and safety clasp on verso. Spread eagle surmounts circular medallion with upper portion marked “U.S. MAIL.” Medallion bears U.S. Capitol and hooded truck at center, surrounded by “POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE.” Numerical figures inscribed on skirt.
In an effort to standardize postal transportation, Postmaster General Albert Burleson inaugurated the Motor Vehicle Service in 1914. Prior to that, the Post Office Department relied exclusively on private contracts to furnish automobiles for city delivery.
Before the establishment of the parcel post, the POD used automobiles primarily for distributing and collecting from street-side mailboxes. By 1917, however, the service operated out of most large cities and used automobiles for many different tasks. Chicago, for instance, had 225 vehicles and 500 chauffeur-letter carriers by this time. The larger vehicles were used to transfer heavy parcels and usually took two men to operate; the smaller vehicles were driven by chauffer-letter carriers, who were required to operate the vehicle and act as letter carriers. These postal workers delivered parcels and letters, collected the mail, and transferred packages to nearby post offices and train stations.