TIL that the “ZIP” in ZIP Code is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, a name given because mail would...

TIL that the “ZIP” in ZIP Code is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, a name given because mail would not only travel more efficiently but also because the mail would comparatively zip right to your address.

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  • and no one really liked the idea until [Mr Zip](https://www.zip-codes.com/mr-zip.asp) came along.

  • Surely the acronym came first, and then they made up that bullshit phrase.

    EDIT: A Bass Ackward Clumsily Krafted acronym.

  • Pretty soon the guy who created the acronym will say he intended for it to be pronounced “zhip”.

  • My town’s zip codes all start with 666 and a lot of people think that’s weird.

  • We just call them Postal Codes. But us Canadians are just funny that way. Sorry.

  • Vox made a cool video about the origins of the ZIP Code.

    Link: https://youtu.be/SZNZiu68mUU

  • But it’s nine digits now. What’s the point of these other four numbers?

  • ZIP would be a backronym, not an acronym.

  • Operative word being “comparatively.”

  • DORK

  • Here in the UK, postcodes are alphanumeric and super specific. Only about 20 properties per code apparently. Very useful for GPS navigation. You just stick the postcode into the sat nav and it takes you to (almost) exactly the right place.

  • What? I was sure it was **Zoning** Improvement Plan. Did I get bumped to the wrong timeline again??

  • It must have sucked reading all those cursive addresses back in the old days. I’ve seen quite a few old envelopes and letters in examples of WWII V-mail, and quite often you’ll be stopped dead in your tracks trying to read one letter in a cursive word. I can easily imagine some poor mail-sorter constantly wasting time trying to figure out some of those addresses.

    ZIP codes definitely simplified things to where the outgoing office only had to read five numbers, and the inbound post offices figured out the rest, which worked very well for small towns that knew all the local addresses. In most cases, nobody has to read the city names when dealing with ZIP codes.

  • The rest of the world just says “postal code”

  • And before that…. it was a mess. Larger cities were first divided into zones in the 1940s, so at least after that you might write “Philadelphia 22, Penna”. Before that, it was entirely up to the mail sorter to figure out which part of the city the address was in.

    Pre-1960s, there were also no official standard abbreviations for US states. Some states had widely accepted abbreviations, but not all. Say you’re an American mail sorter in the 1950s and you’re holding a letter addressed to “Springfield, Mi.” Today that would be Michigan, but back then…. Michigan? Mississippi? Minnesota? Heck, could even be Missouri.

    It’s a wonder some mail ever got to its destination…..

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