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The Crazy Time When the US Delivered Mail by Missile

The Crazy Time When the US Delivered Mail by Missile

This video was made possible by Dashlane. Protect your online identity for free at Missiles are pretty awesome as long as they’re
not pointed at you. Meanwhile, the mail is not very awesome according
to the views I get on mail related topics. Put them together, though, and you get a completely
awesome neutral thing—missile mail. Now, this of course sounds crazy and impractical
but for a while, missile transported mail was what many believed to be the future. There are plenty of ways that mail has been
or is delivered beyond just planes, trains, and automobiles. For example, 100 years ago mail was delivered
by sled dog in Alaska and by telemark skiers in Colorado. Still today, mail is delivered by boat for
houses on Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, by helicopter for residents of Little Diomede, Alaska, and
by mule for those that live in Supai, Arizona. Only about 3,000 people ever, though, have
had their official US mail transported by rocket. In the 1950s, despite both telegraph and phones
existing, the mail was still a major means of communication thanks to its low cost. People cared as much about the speed of the
mail then as they do about their internet speed nowadays. Trains are slow, cars are faster, planes are
even faster, but missiles are fastest. Therefore that was the high IQ idea—delivering
mail by missile. Now, you might notice a few issues with this
plan—missiles are expensive, hard to retrieve, and oh yeah, they are literally supersonic
death machines. Even if you take the the explosive out of
a rocket, it plus the ground is not a recipe for success… unless you’re going for widespread
death and destruction but that’s bad, I’m told. Nonetheless, this had been tried a few times
through history at a small scale. Not the death and destruction, to clarify,
the US tried that at full scale, but the missile mail. In the beginning these tests generally took
the form of just loading a few letters into a small missile that would be sent over a
river or field but during World War Two killing enthusiasts put a bunch of effort into developing
accurate, long-range missiles. By the 50s, these could travel hundreds of
miles and reliably land on a small target. That advancement coincided with the reign
of Arthur Ellsworth Summerfield, Postmaster General. Much like being a YouTuber, being Postmaster
General was once super well respected. This was because the mail was once incredibly
important and therefore Summerfield had significant enough powers to advocate for the testing
and implementation of rocket mail as he really, truly believed it was the future. He rather famously said, “Before man reaches
the moon your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England,
to India, or to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” In reality, all that he was on the threshold
of was wasting a lot of money. In 1959 an official US Post Office Branch
was established on the USS Barbero—a 311 foot long submarine capable of firing missiles. While the Barbero was docked at its home base
in Norfolk, Virginia, a Regulus cruise missile was loaded onboard which itself was not loaded
with the nuclear payload it was designed for. It was loaded with 3,000 pieces of mail. The submarine then left Norfolk, headed into
the Atlantic Ocean, and sailed south. After a few days it reached roughly here and
at 12 noon the submarine fired its special mail missile. After 22 minutes in the air the missile splashed
down just off the coast of Naval Station Mayport in Florida from where it was subsequently
retrieved. From there, the letters were removed and brought
to the nearest non-floating post office to continue their journey to their destinations. Now, considering that most of the letters
were headed to DC, Europe, and the rest of the world, this rocket moved the mail, well,
in the exact wrong direction. All the letters in the missile were actually
written by Postmaster General Summerfield to the US president, politicians, and the
postmaster generals of every other Universal Postal Union member country. This test was a mix of the military showing
off to the soviets and Summerfield showing off to politicians and his postmaster friends. Today, the letters that took that rocket ride
are hugely popular with philatelic enthusiasts—those that collect stamps and related materials—and
are sold regularly for almost $500 but that’s about all this test was good for. The missile, without even considering the
days it took to get into position, flew 100 miles in 22 minutes making it slower than
a normal jet plane. Even though modern missiles are much faster
they’re still hugely expensive and often can’t be reused. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why
mail delivery by rocket never caught on. With widespread jet planes and the internet
nowadays, there just isn’t the need anymore for super fast mail delivery. There is the need for two other things though—a
reliable means to keep your online identity safe and drone delivered quesadillas. The good news is that one of those exists. The bad news is that I still need to make
my own quesadillas like a caveman but at least I have better online security than a caveman. That’s because I use Dashlane which tracks
all the online accounts I have and alerts me if any website I use has had a security
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Reader Comments

  1. Imagine if someone forgot to alert another country that a rocket was coming full of mail. Aussie dude 3489: US MISSLE INCOMING! Aussie dude 3490: WHY IS THE US ATTACKING US, THEIR ALLY! Aussie dude 3489: IDKKKKKKK

  2. I like everything about this channel. Except the adds at the end of the video. But at least there at the end of the video. So I guess I have nothing to hate!

  3. 4:34 is another mistake to add to your next correction video – you dont have better online security than a caveman, the caveman had the best online security ever available – lack of connection to the internet, they were some smart buggers.

  4. Wouldn't a caveman have better online security than the narrator as he wouldn't have internet in the first place. You might be able to hack into the narrator's accounts, but you sure can't hack into an account that doesn't exist.

  5. But air mail is missile mail. The only difference is that the missile has a pilot, and we call that a plane. /highIQstatement

  6. Well think about emergency food and other supplies delivered to the research stations on the poles or to places struck by a natural disaster BY ROCKETS!

  7. These days UPS limits it's ballistic delivery to muscle propelled projectiles. packages.

  8. World war 3 would have already started if this was the case, either with someone mistaking a mail missile for a deadly one, or with the Unabomber case playing out on an international scale.

  9. Hmmmmmm…. idea. Falcon 9s delivering mail by landing at points where ground vehicles pick it up. Instead of airplane, lets use falcon 9s and stuff like that.

  10. Missile: crashes and kills 15 people

    Man: opens missile What is this? Is this message worth the lives of many!

    Letter: you’re mom gay lol

  11. I thought it would be like "during the war, (insert country here) launched a mistle at (insert another country here) to say "I hate you""

  12. Plus, at the height of the Cold War you really don't want to be double checking which missiles have postcards and which have Soviet nukes…..

  13. If we ever went through with this world wide, any country could think we fired a missile. We could think we we're being attacked but we just got our mail. People could die in a war, over a missile carrying mail. How did this fly over everyone's head when they made these missiles?

  14. “Unless you’re going for widespread death and destruction, but that’s bad……….I’m told.” 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

  15. Letters? No. Your online orders? Maybe, but I’m pretty sure a cruise missile would not handle that with care.

  16. Amazon: do you want to be delived by land or by missile
    Me:by missile
    Amazon: where?
    Me:my backyard
    1 hour later
    Your mail has arived
    ("Explosion in the background")

  17. I now have a dream become the postmaster general and then advocate for missile mail and then get tons of fame

  18. well, lets just imagine one day some kid is waiting for his letter and he's peeking out the mail slot in the door and he sees a freaking missile coming straight towards his face!

  19. When this video is even less popular than the other mail-related videos (specifically, the one that he showed at the beginning of this video, "How the Post Office made America"

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