1930s–mid-1950s Sweaters, Jackets, Short Sleeves, Safari-Style Helmet
Beginning in May 1931, a sweater coat could be worn in lieu of the postal uniform coat in areas of mild winter weather with the provision that only one type of coat be worn in each city.
The 1932 Postal Laws and Uniform Regulations specified only that the sweater coat be of “uniform color and design.” Many different styles of the postal sweater coat were available to letter carriers, and through the 1930s and 1940s the sweater coat evolved into the sweater blouse, the winter blouse, the zipper blouse, and the zipper jacket.
In September 1942, postal uniform coat buttons were changed from brass to plastic or some other non-metal material due to the war-time metal shortage.
In September 1950 the postal uniform restriction on metal was lifted.
A 1944 amendment to the postal uniform regulations specified that “elbow-length” shirt sleeves were optional. Short-sleeved uniform shirts, worn without a tie, first appeared in uniform ads in The Postal Record in 1948.
As early as November 1947 postal uniform manufacturers offered a zippered “Eisenhower style” jacket, and a safari-style pith helmet appeared in advertisements by 1949. The Eisenhower jacket was officially added to the letter carrier’s uniform in July 1953, in an order signed by Assistant Postmaster General Norman Ross Abrams which read:
In lieu of the [sack] coat specified, a jacket known as the Eisenhower-type jacket, may be worn, the material and color to be as specified for the coat.
The order also specified black (rather than dark) ties for postal uniform summer wear.
facts provided by: HISTORIAN UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE MAY 2002