United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution; the U. S. Mail traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general; the Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation. It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act in 1970 into the USPS as an independent agency; the USPS as of 2017 has 644,124 active employees and operated 211,264 vehicles in 2014. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world; the USPS is obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.
S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but now has to compete against private package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx. Since the early 1980s, many of the direct tax subsidies to the Post Office, with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters, have been reduced or eliminated in favor of indirect subsidies, in addition to the advantages associated with a government-enforced monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume, after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which mandated that $5.5 billion per year be paid to prefund employee retirement health benefits, revenue dropped due to recession-influenced declining mail volume, prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit. In the early years of the North American colonies, many attempts were made to initiate a postal service.
These early attempts were of small scale and involved a colony, Massachusetts Bay Colony for example, setting up a location in Boston where one could post a letter back home to England. Other attempts focused on a dedicated postal service between two of the larger colonies, such as Massachusetts and Virginia, but the available services remained limited in scope and disjointed for many years. For example, informal independently-run postal routes operated in Boston as early as 1639, with a Boston to New York City service starting in 1672. A central postal organization came to the colonies in 1691, when Thomas Neale received a 21-year grant from the British Crown for a North American Postal Service. On February 17, 1691, a grant of letters patent from the joint sovereigns, William III and Mary II, empowered him: to erect and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, to receive and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years.
The patent included the exclusive right to establish and collect a formal postal tax on official documents of all kinds. The tax was repealed a year later. Neale appointed Governor of New Jersey, as his deputy postmaster; the first postal service in America commenced in February 1692. Rates of postage were fixed and authorized, measures were taken to establish a post office in each town in Virginia. Massachusetts and the other colonies soon passed postal laws, a imperfect post office system was established. Neale's patent expired in 1710; the chief office was established in New York City, where letters were conveyed by regular packets across the Atlantic. Before the Revolution, there was only a trickle of business or governmental correspondence between the colonies. Most of the mail went forth to counting houses and government offices in London; the revolution made Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, the information hub of the new nation. News, new laws, political intelligence, military orders circulated with a new urgency, a postal system was necessary.
Journalists took the lead, securing post office legislation that allowed them to reach their subscribers at low cost, to exchange news from newspapers between the thirteen states. Overthrowing the London-oriented imperial postal service in 1774–1775, printers enlisted merchants and the new political leadership, created a new postal system; the United States Post Office was created on July 26, 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin headed it briefly. Before the Revolution, individuals like Benjamin Franklin and William Goddard were the colonial postmasters who managed the mails and were the general architects of a postal system that started out as an alternative to the Crown Post; the official post office was created in 1792 as the Post Office Department. It was based on the Constitutional authority empowering Congress "To establish post offices and post roads"; the 1792 law provided for a expanded postal network, served editors by charging newspapers an low rate.
The law guaranteed the sanctity of personal correspondence, provided the entire country with low-cost access to information on public affairs, while establishing a right to personal privacy. Rufus Easton was appointed by Thomas Jefferson first postmaster of St. Louis under the recommendation of Postmaster General Gideon Granger. Rufus Easton was the first postmaster and built the first post office west o
Universal Postal Union
The Universal Postal Union, established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration, the Postal Operations Council and the International Bureau, it oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties; the UPU's headquarters are located in Switzerland. French is the official language of the UPU. English was added as a working language in 1994; the majority of the UPU's documents and publications – including its flagship magazine, Union Postale – are available in the United Nations' six official languages. Prior to the establishment of the UPU, each country had to prepare a separate postal treaty with other nations if it wished to carry international mail to or from them. In some cases, senders would have to calculate postage for each leg of a journey, find mail forwarders in a third country if there was no direct delivery.
To remove this complexity, the United States called for an International Postal Congress in 1863. This led Heinrich von Stephan, Royal Prussian and German Minister for Posts, to found the Universal Postal Union, it is the third oldest international organization after the Rhine Commission and the ITU. The UPU was created in 1874 under the name "General Postal Union", under the Treaty of Bern signed on October 9, 1874. Four years the name was changed to "Universal Postal Union"; the UPU established that: There should be a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world Postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail Each country should retain all money it has collected for international postage. One of the most important results of the UPU Treaty was that it ceased to be necessary, as it had been to affix the stamps of any country through which one's letter or package would pass in transit; the UPU provides. Toward the end of the 19th century, the UPU issued rules concerning stamp design, intended to ensure maximum efficiency in handling international mail.
One rule specified. After the foundation of the United Nations, the UPU became a specialized agency of the UN in 1948. In 1969, the UPU introduced a new system of payment where fees were payable between countries according to the difference in the total weight of mail between them; these fees were called terminal dues. This new system was fairer. For example, in 2012, terminal dues for transit from China to the USA was 0.635 SDR/kg, or about 1 USD/kg. As this affected the cost of the delivery of periodicals, the UPU devised a new "threshold" system, which it implemented in 1991; the system sets separate letter and periodical rates for countries which receive at least 150 tonnes of mail annually. For countries with less mail, the original flat rate is still retained; the United States has negotiated a separate terminal dues formula with thirteen European countries that includes a rate per piece plus a rate per kilogram. The UPU operates the system of international reply coupon and addresses concerns with ETOEs.
In recent years UPU members have encountered serious problems triggered by the enormous increase in e-commerce originating from the Far East, where the terminal dues do not cover the unit costs of delivery in the destination countries, the volumes are so big that the losses cannot be compensated by better terminal dues from other traffic. In 2016, a new remuneration system was implemented with a focus on e-commerce, but while the 2016 reform balanced the costs to the delivery services, postage costs for shippers are still asymmetric; as of 2018, US companies pay more than twice as much to mail an item from a US plant to a US customer than does a manufacturer in China to mail an item to a US customer. Standards are important prerequisites for effective postal operations and for interconnecting the global network; the UPU's Standards Board develops and maintains a growing number of international standards to improve the exchange of postal-related information between postal operators. It promotes the compatibility of UPU and international postal initiatives.
The organization works with postal handling organizations, customers and other partners, including various international organizations. The Standards Board ensures that coherent regulations are developed in areas such as electronic data interchange, mail encoding, postal forms and meters. UPU standards are drafted in accordance with the rules given in Part V of the "General information on UPU Standards" and are published by the UPU International Bureau in accordance with Part VII of that publication. All United Nations member states are allowed to become members of the UPU. A non-member state of the United Nations may become a member if two-thirds of the UPU member countries approve its request; the UPU has 192 members. Member states of the UPU are the Vatican City and the 193 UN members except Andorra, Marshall Islands, t
The Benjamin Franklin Z Grill, or "Z-Grill", is a 1-cent postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service in February 1868 depicting Benjamin Franklin. While stamps of this design were the common 1-cent stamps of the 1860s, the Z-Grill is distinguished by having the so-called "Z" variety of a grill pressed into the stamp, creating tiny indentations in the paper. Although the 1-cent Z-Grill is cited as the rarest and most valuable of all US postage stamps, the 15-cent Lincoln Z-Grill is just as rare and the 10-cent Washington Z-Grill scarcely less so. All three of these stamps were produced at the same time, along with more common Z-grill versions of the contemporary 2-cent, 3-cent, 5-cent and 12-cent stamps; the "Z" pattern, unique among grill templates used by the Post Office because it incises horizontal ridges into the stamp rather than vertical ridges, was replaced within a short time, for stamps with the D- and E-Grills were being postmarked in mid-February. The purpose of grilling was to permit the canceling ink to be better absorbed into the stamp paper, thus preventing reuse of stamps by washing out the cancellation marks.
The use of grills was found to be impractical and they were discontinued after 1870. There are only two known 1-cent 1868 Z-Grills, both with cancellation marks. One is owned by the New York Public Library as part of the Benjamin Miller Collection; this leaves only a single 1-cent 1868 Z-Grill in private hands. This 1868 1 cent Z-Grill stamp sold for $935,000 in 1998 to a stamp dealer. Siegel Auctions auctioned the stamp as part of the Robert Zoellner collection. Zachary Sundman, the eleven-year-old son of Mystic Stamp Company President Donald Sundman, was the individual responsible for wielding the paddle and doing the actual bidding. In late October 2005, Sundman traded this Z-Grill to financier Bill Gross for a block of four Inverted Jenny stamps worth nearly $3 million. By completing this trade Gross became the owner of the only complete collection of U. S. 19th century stamps. Both Z-Grills were on display at the National Postal Museum along with the first part of the Benjamin Miller Collection from 27 May 2006 until 1 October 2007.
In the Scott catalogue of U. S. Stamps, the 1¢ Z Grill is listed as #85A: it is one of the few issues that does not bear a unique number but must share its numeral with other stamps of different denominations; this anomaly arose because Scott created its system long before the Z pattern gained general recognition as a separate variety of grill. Accordingly, Scott assigned capital letters to the Z Grill denominations and inserted them into the catalogue after #85; the 1¢ Z Grill appeared as #85A and the 2¢ through 15¢ Z Grills were designated 85B through 85F. This expedient enabled Scott to retain the existing numbers for all subsequent stamps, beginning with the E Grill issues. Inverted Jenny List of notable postage stamps Classification and photos of grills of US stamps More information about the Benjamin Franklin 1-cent Z Grill
The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was a world's fair held in Omaha, Nebraska from June 1 to November 1 of 1898. Its goal was to showcase the development of the entire West, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast; the Indian Congress was held concurrently. Over 2.6 million people came to Omaha to view the 4,062 exhibits during the five months of the Exposition. President William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were among the dignitaries who attended at the invitation of Gurdon Wattles, the event's leader. 100,000 people assembled on the plaza to hear them speak. The Expo stretched over a 180-acre tract in North Omaha and featured a 2,000 feet -long lagoon encircled by 21 classical buildings that featured fine and modern products from around the world. One reporter wrote, "Perhaps the candid Nebraskan would tell you in a moment of frank contriteness that the prime object of this exposition was to boom Omaha." The decision to hold Exposition was made in late 1895 by a small committee of Omaha businessmen determined to hold the Expo, led by banker Gurdon Wattles.
In making their decision, the committee set aside several sites for consideration, including an area near 16th Avenue and Pershing Drive in East Omaha, near the now-dry Florence Lake. It was the preferred site for the Exposition early in 1897. 400 acres surrounding the tract that became Miller Park was considered the strongest contender towards the middle of the year. However, both sites ended up losing out to a site in North Omaha in the year when Omaha banker Herman Kountze donated land in his Kountze Place development to the City of Omaha. After the Expo some of that land would become Kountze Park. Many important developments happened throughout the city before the opening of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, they included the opening of the Burlington Train Station in downtown Omaha. During the Expo, on August 31, 1898, the committee declared "Cody Day" in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody brought his "world-famous" Wild West Show back to the Omaha Driving Park where it was formally founded several years earlier.
October 12 was "President's Day" at the Expo and featured a speech by President William McKinley focused on international affairs and the necessity of not being isolationist. The total attendance was 2,613,508, the total receipts were $1,924,077; the following year after the Expo some members of its managing committee decided to host another Expo-type event, which became the Great American Exposition in summer 1899. Many temporary buildings and features were installed for the Exposition. Thomas Rogers Kimball and C. Howard Walker were named co-architects-in-chief for the event; the two men were responsible including perimeter buildings. They designed several major buildings, some smaller structures and the Arch of States, a main entrance. All these structures were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings; the lower cost allowed the construction of larger structures. The construction of the hundreds of temporary buildings at the Expo was notable because of the exclusive usage of a new and pliable building material called staff.
It allowed Expo designers to construct visual reproductions of Grecian and Roman temples, fine European buildings, more. The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with staff; the Grand Court of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition was located on the current site of Kountze Park. The Post Office Department issued a series of nine postage stamps to mark the Exposition, each depicting a Western scene. Now known as the Trans-Mississippi Issue and considered among the finest stamps produced by the US, they are prized by collectors. A monument to the exposition was placed in Omaha's Kountze Park, the former site of the exposition, during a Centennial celebration of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in 1998. Richard Bock - World-famous sculptor who designed several buildings at the Expo. Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition University of Nebraska-Lincoln's collected Digital Archive on the event Trans Mississippi & International Exposition The Omaha Public Library's Page on the Exposition Trans-Mississippi Exposition Omaha, Nebraska, 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition Omaha, Nebraska, 1898 1898 Omaha, a section of Jon Paul Sank's World's Fairs Page.
The section has 40 links, including websites, other videos, guidebooks, a map, a catalog, view books, music, articles, a digital collection, items about stamps and shows. Retrieved April 7, 2019
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations; the term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander"; the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. A vast variety of peoples and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were affected by the European colonization of the Americas, which began in 1492, their population declined precipitously due to introduced diseases as well as warfare, territorial confiscation and slavery.
After the founding of the United States, many Native American peoples were subjected to warfare and one-sided treaties, they continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies into the 20th century. Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans. Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations; when the United States was created, established Native American tribes were considered semi-independent nations, as they lived in communities separate from British settlers. The federal government signed treaties at a government-to-government level until the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended recognition of independent native nations, started treating them as "domestic dependent nations" subject to federal law; this law did preserve the rights and privileges agreed to under the treaties, including a large degree of tribal sovereignty.
For this reason, many Native American reservations are still independent of state law and actions of tribal citizens on these reservations are subject only to tribal courts and federal law. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U. S. citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. This emptied the "Indians not taxed" category established by the United States Constitution, allowed natives to vote in state and federal elections, extended the Fourteenth Amendment protections granted to people "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. However, some states continued to deny Native Americans voting rights for several decades. Bill of Rights protections do not apply to tribal governments, except for those mandated by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange.
As most Native American groups had preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, the first written sources of the conflict were written by Europeans. Ethnographers classify the indigenous peoples of North America into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits, called cultural areas; some scholars combine the Plateau and Great Basin regions into the Intermontane West, some separate Prairie peoples from Great Plains peoples, while some separate Great Lakes tribes from the Northeastern Woodlands. The ten cultural areas are as follows: Arctic, including Aleut and Yupik peoples Subarctic Northeastern Woodlands Southeastern Woodlands Great Plains Great Basin Northwest Plateau Northwest Coast California Southwest At the time of the first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and Christian immigrants; some Northeastern and Southwestern cultures, in particular, were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than that with which Europeans were familiar.
The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. Europeans at that time had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were different; the differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, social disruption. Before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity. Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492".
Old World diseases were the primary killer. In many regions the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact. "Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U. S. vary ranging from William M Denevan's 3.8 million in his 1992 w
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities; the history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, technological developments have increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage.
Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, antibiotic resistance, growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are used, although some are banned in certain countries; the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Food classes include cereals, fruits, meat, milk and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased over the centuries; the word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "field", which in its turn came from Greek αγρός, cultūra, "cultivation" or "growing". While agriculture refers to human activities, certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle cultivate crops. Agriculture is defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops, their related services".
Thus defined, it includes arable farming, animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in practice excluded. The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and gathering. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11 separate centres of origin. Wild grains were eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Rice was domesticated in China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation from 5,700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago. Pig production emerged in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.
In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago. Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Wild stands, harvested started to be planted, came to be domesticated. In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000 BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC. Farmers grew wheat, vegetables such as lentils and onions, fruits including dates and figs.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture relied on its seasonal flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and papyrus. In India, wheat and jujube were domesticated by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats. Cattle and goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000–6,000 BC. Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium BC. Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from 2,500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilisation. In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system and widespread silk farming. Water-powered grain mills were in use followed by irrigation. By the late 2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron mouldboards; these spread westwards across Eurasia. Asian rice was domesticated 8,200–13,500 years ago – depending on the molecular clock estimate, used – on the Pearl River in southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government, most notable of, Federal Reserve Notes for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In addition to paper currency, the BEP produces Treasury securities; the BEP does not produce coins. With production facilities in Washington, D. C. and Fort Worth, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has its origins in legislation enacted to help fund the Civil War. In July 1861, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in lieu of coins due to the lack of funds needed to support the conflict; the paper notes were government IOUs and were called Demand Notes because they were payable "on demand" in coin at certain Treasury facilities. At this time the government had no facility for the production of paper money so a private firm produced the Demand Notes in sheets of four.
These sheets were sent to the Treasury Department where dozens of clerks signed the notes and scores of workers cut the sheets and trimmed the notes by hand. The Second Legal Tender Act authorized the Treasury Secretary to engrave and print notes at the Treasury Department; the currency processing operations in the Treasury were not formally organized. When Congress created the Office of Comptroller of the Currency and National Currency Bureau in 1863, currency-processing operations were nominally subordinated to that agency and designated the "First Division, National Currency Bureau." For years, the currency operations were known by various semi-official labels, such as the "Printing Bureau," "Small Note Bureau," "Currency Department," and "Small Note Room." It was not until 1874 that the "Bureau of Engraving and Printing" was recognized in congressional legislation with a specific allocation of operating funds for fiscal year 1875. From the beginning of its operations, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed and printed a variety of products in addition to currency.
As early as 1864, the offices which would become the BEP made passports for the State Department and money orders for the Post Office Department. Passports are now produced by the Government Publishing Office. Other early items produced by the BEP included various government debt instruments, such as interest-bearing notes, refunding certificates, compound interest Treasury notes, bonds; the production of postage stamps began in 1894, for the next century the BEP was the sole producer of postage stamps in the country. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. Paper currency was produced on hand presses around 1918, utilizing plates capable of printing four notes per sheet; the Bureau of Engraving and Printing took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. The first of the works printed by the BEP was placed on sale on July 18, 1894, by the end of the first year of stamp production, the BEP had printed and delivered more than 2.1 billion stamps.
The United States Postal Service switched purely to private postage stamp printers in 2005, ending 111 years of production by the Bureau. Starting in 2011 the United States Postal Service in-housed all postage stamp printing services. Plate capacity on power presses increased from four to eight notes per sheet in 1918 in order to meet expanded production requirements related to World War I. With the redesign of currency in 1929, the first major change since paper currency was first issued in 1861, note design was not only standardized but note size was significantly reduced. Due to this reduction in size, the Bureau was able to convert from eight-note printing plates to twelve-note plates; the redesign effort came about for several reasons, chief among them a reduction in paper costs and improved counterfeit deterrence through better public recognition of currency features. A further increase in the number of notes per sheet was realized in 1952 after breakthrough developments in the production of non-offset inks.
Beginning in 1943, the BEP experimented with new inks that dried faster, therefore obviating the need to place tissues between sheets to prevent ink from offsetting to other sheets. The faster drying ink enabled printed sheets of backs to be kept damp until the faces were printed, thereby reducing distortion caused by wetting, re-wetting of the paper. By reducing the distortion that increases proportionally with the size of the sheet of paper, the Bureau was able to convert from 12-note printing plates to plates capable of printing 18 notes in 1952. Five years in 1957, the Bureau began printing currency via the dry intaglio method that utilizes special paper and non-offset inks, enabling a further increase from 18 to 32 notes per sheet. Since 1968, all currency has been printed by means of the dry intaglio process, whereby wetting of the paper prior to printing is unnecessary. In this process, fine-line engravings are transferred to steel plates from which