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USPS Special Delivery Messengers on Motorized Scooters, 1917.
These guys weren’t ordinary mailmen, they were “Special Delivery Messengers” for the US Postal Service. Beginning in 1913 any boy 16 years of age or older could become a Special Delivery Messenger at the postmasters discretion. Generally you would see the Special Delivery Messengers riding bicycles to deliver their packages, but this group decided to kick it up a notch to motorized scooters called Autopeds.
I am sure you are wondering why the front tire has a pinkish hue and I assure you that is not artistic liberty on my part. For some reason the manufacturer chose a salmon color for the front tire and black for the back. An example of an Autoped can be seen here, pink tire and all.
This photo was taken at the old Post Office in Washington D.C in 1917 by Harris & Ewing and comes from the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress had this photo listed with the date 1910 which is incorrect. If you look closely at the reflection in the glass, you will see a sign for the Hotel Harrington directly across the street which wasn’t established until 1914.
This photo took a great deal of restoration and lighting adjustments before it looked right.I have placed my restoration below the full size original for you to compare as well as my colorization just below that.