When you want to find the zip code of a place, you do not need to go and bug a postman or go to a post office. Help is available online and here we show how to use it.
How To Search for it
A zip code of a place is assigned very systematically. The first number denotes a group of states in USA. The next number selects a particular city or region in those states. Every next number, up to the last one, narrows down the address to a city, then a suburb, and ultimately to a city block. So the code is really a cryptic way of writing an address.
The United states post office homepage, has a facility that gives you the zip code of a particular area, if you supply the address in an online entry form, provided by them. This can provide you with the code, in a fraction of a second. There are many private sites that can do the same for you.
A Brief History
A 'zip' code stands for 'Zonal Improvement Plan' code. It is assigned to every location or suburb in the USA. It is mandatory that you include the code, in the written address, when you write a letter or post anything. That is, if you want it to reach the right doorstep.
The five digit code system was introduced by the USPOD (United States Post Office Department) on the 1st of July, 1963. The idea of the code was the brainchild of a postal employee named Robert Moon. He had submitted his idea for perusal in 1944, when he was working in the field as a postal inspector.
After having a look at the dismal performance of the existing postal system, he suggested that if a uniform code system was introduced that labeled every place in USA, mail delivery would be simpler. It took a lot of years for the authorities to appreciate the usefulness and smartness of his practical suggestion which was ultimately brought into reality.
The US postal service even had a mascot called Mr.Zip to promote the use of the code. By 1967, it had a widespread usage, throughout USA. Due to the expansion of cities and towns across USA, eventually more codes were needed to adequately label all the new suburbs.
Therefore, in 1983, the US postal department introduced the ZIP+4 system. It added an additional 4 numbers to existing codes. However, the additional four numbers that were added, did not really stick. It is not necessary to specify the additional four numbers nowadays.
The first five numbers will do, along with as detailed an address, you can provide. With machines that use optical character recognition, being employed by the postal department now, this task has become very easy. The machine itself prints the whole code on the letter, after reading the address.