BUSINESS
07/15/2014 11:06 am ET | Updated Jul 25, 2014

These Old School Photos Show The Evolution Of UPS' Big Brown Delivery Fleet

The iconic brown delivery trucks used by the United Parcel Service didn't always look like they do today, but a set of photos from the UPS archive shows that they may have always at least been big and boxy.

Founded in Seattle, Washington in 1907 by James Casey, UPS began as the American Messenger Company and later the Merchants Parcel Delivery. In its earliest stages, messengers delivered packages on foot or bicycle, but in 1913, the company acquired its first Model T Ford delivery truck, and later expanded its fleet to include motorcycles. The images below give some insight into how UPS got packages to customers before adopting the gigantic brown box trucks that we all wait excitedly for today.

  • UPS Archives
    Merchants Parcel Delivery motorcycles first mechanized form of delivery vehicles used in 1916.
  • UPS Archives
    Merchants Parcel Delivery Fleet in Seattle in 1916.
  • UPS Archives
    Ford Model T delivery truck in 1921.
  • UPS Archives
    Model T Ford delivery truck number 9 in 1921.
  • UPS Archives
    February 1929 United Air Express service – every major city on the West Coast and as far east as El Paso, TX. UPS shut down the service in 1931.
  • UPS Archives
    Los Angeles Fleet in 1923.
  • UPS Archives
    In 1936 these electric powered package cars shown here traveled the streets of LA. The first documents related to electric vehicles go back to 1930 and the UPS New York City fleet.
  • UPS Archives
    UPS restarted air service in 1953 using space on passenger planes.
  • UPS Archives
    Package car and furniture delivery truck circa 1956.
  • UPS Archives
    UPS tries out a great number of different vehicles to fit package volume to miles driven. Here’s one that UPS tried out in 1958, a Volkswagen Econoline Van.
  • UPS Archives
    Various vehicles in the 1971 fleet.
  • UPS Archives
    Classic UPS bubble front delivery vehicle. This copyrighted style was first developed in 1965.
  • UPS Archives
    Delivery vehicle in Moscow in 2006.

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