To help us understand how commercial mailboxes got to be where they are today, it's helpful to take a look at the not-so-distant past. You see, the major changes for us happened in the middle of the 19th-century.
It's safe to say that before the 1850s, mailboxes, as we know them, weren't in existence just yet. That all changed with the postal stamp, which replaced the need to pay for postage at a local post office.
People really enjoyed their letters to each other. New styles and designs were invented to accommodate the growing use of the mailbox, aiming to be both practical and attractive at once.
Of course, mail (or the general delivery of messages) goes way back in ancient history--long before our 21st-century. For this article, we'll stick to those details that brought about the commercial mailboxes that we use today.