Airmail Pick-Up Past & Present
On April 12, 1939, a bright red Stinson Reliant plane swooped out of the Pennsylvania sky, snatching a container of mail suspended on a rope between two poles. "Air pick-up" was invented by a dentist and part-time inventor to provide airmail to towns that lacked airports. The system was especially useful when mail volume boomed during World War II. Air pick-up carried airmail for about ten years, but it didn't go away entirely. Military and civilian uses for pick-up were soon found. In fact, later developments of pick-up are still used today! Gary Ell, creative marketing director at Zodiac Aerospace, discusses the past and present of this quirky invention which the company continues to develop today. Mr. Ell gave this talk at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum on November 7, 2009.