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In April 1915, the Minneapolis post office fielded a half-million letters a day, all sorted by hand. It was a mind-numbing task. The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune reported on that challenge:
"If you were a postman and received a letter addressed 'Double S. Nut Co., Minneapolis, Minn.,' to whom would you undertake to deliver it?
"This is not a catch question included in a Civil Service examination, but just a sample of more than 2,000 addressed envelopes received daily at the Minneapolis post office that are so incorrect that at first glance it would seem impossible to find the person entitled to receive it. The above-addressed envelope … was delivered by first carrier next morning to the W.S. Nott Company, Second Avenue and Third Street South."