The letter box was introduced in Russia around 1848, they were often made from wood and iron making them easy to steal. They were later replaced with cast iron letter boxes that could weigh up to 45 kg, this made them more difficult to vandalise or steal.
About the same time in Britain most houses had a letter box in their doors which would be a simple hole covered with a flap, later they would have springs attached to the flap which stopped them knocking in the wind. Most post offices made a similar public letter box for people wanting to send their letters, one of the oldest post office letter boxes was installed around 1809 and is still in existence today, at the Wakefield post office. The first roadside letter boxes were erected in Britain around the 1850s, the first being in St Hellier in Jersey .
Letterboxes made by James Ludlow of Birmingham were made from wood and metal with enamel plates but the majority of British letter boxes were made of cast iron, there are still plenty surviving today.