United Parcel Service (UPS) has a long and storied history since its founding in 1907.

This UPS timeline outlines key events and periods of growth and expansion that shaped UPS into the global shipping giant it is today.

EARLY HISTORY (1907-1929)

the first UPS truck
© History Oasis

1907 — American Messenger Company

James E. Casey and Claude Ryan found the American Messenger Company in Seattle, starting it with just a $100 investment.

The company specialized in delivery telegraphs and packages on foot or bicycle.

1913 — First Delivery Video

The company acquires its first delivery vehicle, a Model T Ford, allowing it to expand deliveries beyond just foot and bicycles.

This marked the beginning of the company's transition towards automotive transportation.

1916 — Charlie Soderstrom

Charlie Soderstrom joins the company, bringing in additional vehicles and expanding the fleet. This allowed the company to handle increased package volume.

Soderstrom also advocated for the iconic UPS brown color to keep vehicles clean.

1919 — United Parcel Service

The company changes its name to United Parcel Service (UPS) and expands outside of Seattle for the first time, offering delivery services in Oakland, California.

This marked the beginnings of UPS expanding across the country.

1924 — First Conveyor Belt System

A conveyor belt system is introduced for package handling operations within UPS distribution centers, increasing the efficiency and throughput.

This system formed the basis of UPS' sorting and handling infrastructure.

GROWTH & EXPANSION (1930-1980)

a UPS truck in the 1930s
© History Oasis

1930 — Consolidated Service

Consolidated service begins in New York City, Chicago, and other major Midwest and East Coast cities, allowing consolidation of packages addressed to certain neighborhoods onto fewer delivery vehicles.

This increased efficiency and scale.

1953 — UPS Blue Label Air

Air service resumes under the name UPS Blue Label Air, transporting packages via private airlines along the East Coast and West Coast.

This expedited UPS' longest deliveries.

1975 — Nationwide Expansion

The headquarters moves from Seattle to Greenwich, CT to better serve expanded operations.

This year UPS also completes nationwide expansion, now delivering to all 48 contiguous United States.

1976 — Canada

International operations begin with entry into Canada, marking the first UPS deliveries outside the United States.

1982  — UPS Airlines

UPS Airlines forms through new authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. UPS Airlines allowed the company to control logistics of air transport and rapidly expand air operations.


a UPS Airline plane
© History Oasis

1988 — 10th Largest Airline

UPS Airlines becomes the 10th largest airline in the US, fueled by rapid expansion of air shipments and hubs across the country after its formation in 1982.

1991 — Sandy Springs HQ

The company headquarters moves to Sandy Springs, GA to better serve expanded southern operations.

2001 — The UPS Store

UPS acquires retail shipping chain Mail Boxes Etc. and rebrands it as The UPS Store, significantly expanding access points.

2005 — UPS Freight

UPS acquires Overnite Transportation which is then rebranded as UPS Freight, entering the less-than-truckload shipping business.

2018 — Self-Driving Semis

UPS forms a partnership with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple to develop self-driving semi-trucks to improve logistics.

2020  — Carol Tomé

Carol Tomé becomes UPS CEO, guiding the company through immense e-commerce shipping volume during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 — UPS Freight Sold Off

UPS Freight is sold to Canadian transport company TFI International to refocus on small package operations.

2023 — MNX

UPS acquires healthcare logistics provider MNX to expand temperature-controlled shipping solutions.