Skip to main content

History of the Post Office

Today, it is quite normal that we send and receive by mail letters and packages. However, although the idea of the postal service existed long time ago, it was implemented very slow.
In the old days, in ancient Rome, the government managed the delivery of messages, but those messages were related exclusively to government issues.
During the Middle Ages, an association of traders and some larger universities held a special and limited postal services, which were used exclusively by its members.
It was only in the 16th century, when governments begun to introduce regular postal service, firstly because they thus were able to monitor suspicious correspondence, and also because the postal service constituted a source of income, and finally, because it provided the necessary services to the public. Today as the basis for the provision of postal services remained practically only this third reason.
King Henry VIII had a postal service in England, and his successors expanded this service. In 1609 only official postmen could transfer the messages in the form of letters. However, London traders in 1680 founded their own service for delivery of letters in the city and its surroundings. It was called "Penny - mail" – one letter cost one penny. This Post office operated very successfully, so the English government took it over and continued its work until 1801.
The entire postal system was finally transformed in 1840. Postage stamps were implemented and single tariff for all the places in the country, and difference existed only in relation to the weight of the mail.
All other countries have organized their postal system modeled on the one in the UK.

Popular posts from this blog

Morse Code for Kids and Morse Code Alphabet

In 1832, an American artist sailed home from Europe. He had spent some time painting in Europe and hoped to sell his pictures when he arrived home. His name was Samuel Morse.
The journey on the ship was to change Samuel Morse’s life.

Read more: How to make a morse code machine...

He met a young chemist from Boston, named Charles Jackson, who showed him how an electromagnet works. Morse became interested in electricity and in the idea of sending messages along electric wires.
Samuel Morse was one of the first people to make an electric telegraph. 
An electric telegraph uses an electric current to send messages along a wire.

Operators of this electric telegraph machine sent messages down the line in Morse Code.
Morse Code Alphabet This telegraph was not what made Morse famous. He gave his name to the code of dots and dashes which he invented.
Until this time, most long distance messages were sent by semaphore.
The problem with the electric telegraph was that an electric current can be arra…

Heliograph - Communicating by light

What is Heliograph? Sometimes when you are in open country, you may catch a flash of sunlight on the windshield of a car many miles away.
The windshield acts like a mirror and reflects the light.
You have probably shone a flashlight beam against a wall or ceiling and watched the spot of light.
Cover the mirror or flashlight with your hand, and the light disappears.

Put these two ideas together, and you have one of the oldest ways of communicating in the world—signalling by the light of the sun.
The ancient Greeks signaled to each other in this way.
They used an instrument called a heliograph. 
The name comes from the ancient Greek words for “sun” and “writing.”
A heliograph can be seen up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) away on a clear day without a telescope. The modern heliograph is mounted on a tripod, like a camera.
It can turn in any direction.
The mirror flashes when it is directed at the sun and can then be dipped away or covered with a shutter.
If the signaler wants to send a mess…

Semaphore Alphabet

Throughout history, armies and navies have sent messages across battlefields.
Simple orders like “Advance” or “Retreat” could be given by bugle calls or cannon-fire.
But sending reports of the battle back to headquarters needed a different system. During the 1790’s, a Frenchman called Claude Chappe invented a signaling system called semaphore. This was a system of sending signals by means of two jointed arms at the tops of tall posts. These arms could be moved to different positions to show different letters of the alphabet. Each semaphore station was built on a hill so that it could be seen, using a telescope, from the next station in any direction. In this way, messages could be relayed over long distances from one station to the next.
Semaphore stations on the coast would send messages to ships at sea. On the battlefield, there might not be a semaphore station, but messages could be sent by stationing signalers with large flags on nearby hills.
They used the same code as the semaph…