Would You Believe It? James Casey Started UPS With Borrowed $100

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United Parcel Service, or UPS as it is known by everyone today, is one of the largest messenger and courier services on the planet. Working out of the shipment and logistics industry, the company has left its mark on the world, and for over a century, it has provided cost effective and reliable messenger services not just in America, but all over the world. It provides parcel delivery services in over 200 countries and operates its own carrier goods, airline services to ensure the very best services to its clients. The company has grown to become a giant and delivers well over 15 millions globally on a daily basis, but when it first started out over a hundred years ago, no one could have predicted UPS would be such a roaring success.

The humble beginnings as American Messenger Services

James Casey founded UPS back in 1907 with the initial name of American Messenger Company. He was only 19 years old and had to ask a friend for a loan of $100 to start the company, which was registered in Seattle, Washington. His first business was mainly delivering messages and small packages from people to other people. The young entrepreneur had worked as a messenger for several similar services in the city. The need for reliable messenger service existed in the market, and Casey capitalized on this need, with tremendous results. His principle had been always to deliver the best services for low prices, and the modern day UPS still holds true to that promise. His own brother and a few friends worked as delivery boys and delivered most of the goods on foot, or used bikes for the more distant destinations. There were almost no automobiles in those times. A small office rented out in the basement served as the first base for UPS, and through Casey’s firm stance on quality, the company was able to beat the competition from existing companies and emerged as the city’s favorite messenger service.

United Parcel Service, source: www.ups.com

After 1913, a device invented by a guy named Alexander Bell – the telephone – had begun getting more and more popular among people. This decreased the demand for messaging services and American Messenger Company had to reorganize its activities. They focused more on package deliveries and bought some motorcycles for improving their services. This was also the time that the company acquired one of its first automotive for delivering heavier goods, a Model T Ford. Casey and his new partner Claude Ryan partnered up with a competitor Evert McCabe and changed the name of the newly formed company to Merchants Parcel Delivery, a name which the company continued using till 1937, when the name was officially changed to the modern day United Parcel Service.


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