This article was written by Phineas Upham
James Casey founded the American Messenger Company in 1907. It began in Seattle, Washington, and had service stretching to Oakland, California by 1919. Their first delivery car was a Model T. Ford, which first appeared in 1913. Casey partnered with another parcel company and formed Merchants Parcel Delivery, and with it came the development of providing services to the same local neighborhoods. Cars were packed and sent to specific sections of the city, rather than drivers who rode around and made their own schedules.
That consolidated service became popular in places like New York City throughout the 1930s, and the company soon changed its name to reflect the new business practice. It became United Parcel Service officially in 1937, changing its logo to match the name. It also adopted the tagline, “The Delivery System for Stores of Quality” and promptly acquired common carrier rights to deliver to any address.
The 1970s brought service to the entire continental United States, and an office in Canada that was founded in 1976. By 1982, UPS had launched its “Next Day Air” feature. This eventually led to UPS airlines launching in 1988.
UPS has since made acquisitions in the air industry, mostly geared toward servicing and maintaining its craft. It is a company built around manpower, which can leave it vulnerable to walkouts like the one that occurred in 1997. 185,000 employees left the building, forcing UPS to shut itself down for 16 days while it negotiated with laborers. It was also the victim of a bombing in 1974, when an explosion killed one man and injured others. The explosion was ruled a homicide, but the case was never solved.