ZIP codes are important for making postal deliveries. They are a system of codes consisting of five digits.  The codes have an interesting history that every person who wants to work as a postal service employee should know. In this article, we will trace the history of the codes right from inception to present day usage. 

About the Origin of ZIP

ZIP is an acronym of Zone Improvement Plan. It was introduced to make the delivery of mails quick and efficient. The simple nature of ZIP codes may make people believe that it may have been used for centuries.

But the reality is that ZIP codes are a relatively recent phenomenon. A US postal inspector named Robert Moon had developed the idea of ZIP codes with three digits in 1944.  He had dubbed the numbers as the Sectional Center Facility (SCF).

The US postal office had lost a large staff in the war. As a result, the company faced difficulties in making timely deliveries. The company needed a simple way to make postal deliveries. Prior to the introduction of ZIP codes, the US postal office workers had to manually sort the mails based on local addresses. However, this system was found to be inadequate due to the increasing number of mails and employee shores.

The post office adopted the idea of Moon and started using ZIP codes to sort mails. This streamlined the mail sorting process allowing the mail to be delivered on time.

ZIP Codes in the Past and Today

The initial ZIP codes consisted of three digit numbers. This had helped mail sorters process a large mail volume, which during the 40s was about 20 million mails per year.

In order to further speed up the mail sorting process, the USPS increased the digits in the ZIP codes to five by 1963. By this time, they had automated mailing systems that could quickly process the five digits.  The US postal service had officially named the ZIP codes on July 1, 1963. The first digit represented the city, the next two digits a region within the city, and the final two represented the location of the local post office.

In the year 1980, the company introduced the extended ZIP codes that consisted of four additional digits. The additional digits represented the route within the die very area. This made it more easy to identify the intended destination. However, the introduction of sorting and location technologies in the 90s eliminated the need for the additional four digits.

The history of the ZIP codes is as interesting and intriguing as the history of the USPS. The postal service authority is one of the oldest public institutes in the US. Individuals who wish to join the US postal service company have to pass a postal exam and clear an interview test. The federal job is in high demand in the country due to attractive perks and benefits.