In 1907 there was a great need in America for private messenger and delivery services. To help meet this need, an enterprising 19-year-old, James E. (Jim) Casey, borrowed $100 from a friend and established the American Messenger Company in Seattle, Washington. According to accounts given by Jim there were quite a few messenger services already in the Seattle area, some of which he had worked for in the past.
That initial name was well-suited to the business pursuits of the new company. In response to telephone calls received at their basement headquarters, messengers ran errands, delivered packages, and carried notes, baggage, and trays of food from restaurants. They made most deliveries on foot and used bicycles for longer trips. Only a few automobiles were in existence at that time and department stores of the day still used horses and wagons for merchandise delivery. It would be six years before the United States Parcel Post system would be established.
Jim and his partner, Claude Ryan ran the service from a humble office located under the sidewalk. Jim’s brother George and a handful of other teenagers were the company’s messengers. The company did well despite stiff competition, largely because of Jim Casey´s strict policies of customer courtesy, reliability, round-the-clock service, and low rates. These principles, which guide UPS even today, are summarized by Jim´s slogan: best service and lowest rates. © 2006 UPS