When Postmaster General Marvin unveiled the new Postal Service logo in 1993, cries went up that the iconic eagle logo was being replaced by a cheap imitation. But nearly 25 years later, “Sonic” has become just as much an icon.
Sonic replaced the “Standing Eagle” logo, which was adopted as the USPS seal following the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. But what was the logo before the two eagles?
The truly iconic seal was the post rider on horseback, which served as the branding of the Post Office Department going back into the 1800’s. The courier on horse is often associated with the Pony Express, but the reality is that the Post relied on horse transportation on land from the very start of the United States Post Office in 1775 and before that, in the colonial era.
The post rider on horseback would endure for over a century as the representation of the federal government’s post office department.
The first seal, however, did not have a horse. Rather it was a depiction of Mercury, the Roman Mesenger God. Mercury was a major God in Roman mythology, responsible for not just transporting messages but also souls to the underworld. Interesting enough given the Post’s role in ecommerce, Mercury was also the God of commerce.