9CF1 United States Express Co. Complimentary Frank PROOF BLOCK
The United States Express Company, which operated from 1854 to 1914, was a privately owned company that forwarded parcels and freight. The company served the northern states from New England west to Colorado.
The express business–transportation of parcels and valuables–was begun in America by William F. Harnden, an employee of Boston & Worcester R.R., who, in 1839, established a “package express” between Boston and New York. After a slow start, the idea caught on and during the following two decades dozens of express company operations were launched along various railroad and steamboat routes, many of which were eventually absorbed by larger outfits like Adams and American. Stamps and labels used by these companies comprised not only money packages, complimentary franks and newspaper stamps, but also prepaid parcel stamps, route (forwarding) labels, and identification labels.