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Unloading an Express Shipment

For more than a century the word EXPRESS has stood for speed—speed and romance. In 1839, William F. Harnden, one of the pioneer railroad conductors of New England, had an idea. The idea took hold of him so strongly that he quit his job with the railroad and devoted himself to the business of putting it to work. He became the world's first express messenger, traveling between Boston and New York by the fastest conveyances of that day, carrying a carpet bag. The carpet bag contained packages of money, documents, jewelry, gold and other valuable and articles entrusted to his care.

Gradually Hamden's express business expanded. The carpet bag became inadequate, and in time a railroad car was needed to hold all of the things that people wanted him to carry for them.

With the growth of railroads and the rapid development of the country, other express companies entered the field. Wells-Fargo, the pioneer express company of the Far West, the famed Pony Express, Adams Express, American Express and many others—each provided service by the fastest conveyances of their day.

The successor to all of these famous express services of earlier days is the Railway Express Agency. Its far-flung organization surpasses in scope of operations all of the forementioned express companies combined.

Performing complete pick-up and delivery service, collecting shipments from homes, offices, factories and other places of business and delivering them to the doors of consignees in important cities and towns in all parts of the country, Railway Express Agency handles an average of more than 400,000 separate shipments, large and small, every day in the year.

In the performance of its extensive nation-wide service, the Agency maintains 23,000 offices scattered throughout the United States. It uses more than 201,000 miles of railway lines, 21,000 miles of steamship lines, 41,000 miles of air lines, and 14,000 miles of motor-truck lines in its regular daily operations.

For the collection and delivery of express shipments, the Agency operates a fleet of 13,000 motor vehicles of its own—the largest commercial motor fleet in the United States under one management. Altogether, the Agency employs 57,000 express handlers, agents, messengers, pick-up and delivery truck drivers, inspectors clerks and other workers. Through its connections, the Agency provides a world-wide express service, receiving shipments from and forwarding shipments to many foreign countries.

In addition to millions of express shipments in packages, crates, cases, boxes, cartons, bags and other containers, the Agency operates refrigerator cars for the transportation of perishables, specially built cars for the transportation of race horses and animals, and specially built tank cars for the transportation of live fish. It handles shipments of valuables, motion picture films, delicate instruments, plants and flowers, family pets, and many other shipments requiring special care or speedy deliveries.

Many of the delicacies that are served on the American tables are brought long distances by Railway Express. Fresh oysters from Chesapeake Bay, shrimp from the Gulf Coast, live lobsters from Maine, soft crabs from the Virginia capes, and many other seafoods, thanks to express service, are served in hotels, restaurants, homes and dining cars in all parts of the country.

When one wants to send something by express he telephones the local office of the Railway Express Agency or the local Western Union Telegraph office. The agency will pick it up and deliver it to any individual, firm or institution in thousands of cities and towns in the United States or forward it to some other part of the world. Some shipments are sent with express charges prepaid and some with express charges to be collected from the consignee.

An attractive feature of express service is its C.O.D. system. By this method any person in the United States can place orders with firms anywhere in the country and pay the local express agent for them at the time they are delivered. Railway Express forwards the payment to the shipper. C.O.D. means collect on delivery.


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