The History of Postage Stamps

Huh, learn something new every day. My entire understanding of the postal service comes from Terry Pratchett’s “Going Postal”, so it’s interesting to take a quick look into the [vaguely] factual history of the postage stamp.

This widely-circulated story is believed to be apocryphal, but Sir Rowland Hill was a very real postal reformer and inventor.

Read the original essay




邮差走下车,手里高举着一封信,大声喊着: “爱里丝·布朗小姐,有信!”一个姑娘轻声地对邮差说: “我就是爱里丝·布朗。”人们的眼光都不约而同地投向她。



她带着感激的笑容对这位绅士说: “谢谢您的好意,先生,这封信我盼望了很久,可是现在我用不着它了。”


“这封信是我的男朋友寄给我的。我们打算明年结婚。他为了筹钱结婚,只得到外地去找工作做。由于我付不起邮费,所以他事先交代我: 在信封上画个叉,是表示他的日子过得很好;画个圆圈,意思是他已经找到工作了。”

“啊!原来这信封里是没有信的。”那位绅士自言自语地说: “这种情形很不合理,必须改善。”


他向当时的英国政府建议: “邮费应该由寄信的人来付,而且也不应该太昂贵,否则穷人是付不起的。为了大家的方便,我认为寄信的人,用一个便士买一枚邮票,贴在信封上,这样寄出去就可以了。”


Show English translation »

In 1840, England issued the world’s first postage stamp. The face of Queen Victoria was printed on it. Because the stamp was black, it was called the “Penny Black”.

One day more than one hundred and fifty years ago, a mail coach rode into a village in England. At that time, mail coaches rarely brought letters to the villages. So as soon as the village folks heard the sound of the carriage, they immediately rushed out of houses and fields to stand around the coach.

The postman stepped down from the coach holding up a letter and loudly cried, “Miss Alice Brown, you have a letter!” A girl’s light voice replied, “I’m Alice Brown.” Everyone’s gaze simultaneously went her way.

Alice took the letter the postman handed her, looked at the envelope, and then gave the envelope back to the postman. “Sorry,” she said, “I don’t have enough money to pay the postage fee.”

Everyone sympathized with her, and didn’t know what to say. Suddenly, a man of gentlemanly appearance walked out of the crowd, took some cash from his pocket, and said he wanted to pay the postal fee on Alice’s behalf, though Alice didn’t know him at all.

Wearing a proud smile, she told the gentleman, “Thank you for your kindness, mister, I’ve looked forward to this letter for a long time, but I have no use for it now.”

“Why?” The gentlement thought this was quite strange.

“This letter was sent to me by my boyfriend. I plan to marry him next year. To earn money for the marriage, he went away to look for work. Because I can’t pay any postage fees, before he left he told me: if he draws an X written on the envelope, it means he’s doing well, if there’s a circle on the envelope, it means he’s already found work.”

“Ah! So actually there’s wasn’t any letter in the envelope to begin with.” The gentlemen mused out loud to himself, “This situation is unfair, [the mail system] must be improved.”

He thought about it for a long time, and finally thought of a solution.

He suggested to the then-government: “The postage fee should be paid by the sender of the letter, and it shouldn’t be too expensive, otherwise poor people won’t be able to afford it. For everyone’s convenience, I think people sending letters should use a one-penny stamp and stick it on the front of the letter – that’s how they can send it out.”

As a result, the English government were willing to follow this good advice and accepted his suggestion. This gentleman’s name was Rowland Hill, and this is how the world’s first postage stamp was born.

4 replies on “The History of Postage Stamps”

I am a bit lost. in the essay, if Alice Brown sees the “X”, her fiancé is doing fine. If he found a job, she sees the “0” . So why does she tell the mailman that she does not need the mail anymore?


They’re saying that in the old system, the receiver of the envelope would pay the fee. You’d take the envelope, pay the postman, and then open the envelope and read the letter.

But this girl and her boyfriend worked out a scheme where she never had to actually open the letter and therefore never needed to pay for its delivery – she just had to hold the envelope for a second, see what her boyfriend wrote on the outside of it, then give the envelope back to the postman and refuse to pay. She didn’t need to keep the envelope or open it.

the first such 8160 hour parade pemrit was issued illegally by the City of Charleston to Timothy John Cox a few years back, he is a convicted FEDERAL STALKER now violating a lifetime ban away from the clinic for his crimes of following a nurse to her home and terrorizing her daughter at her high school . for many years Felon Cox did stay away 200 yards but when he learned the clinic was sold, this gawdly gangster returned December of 2006, . 3 affidavits were filed to demand US Marshals arrest this perpetrator for violation of the order, BUT THE SAME JUDGE WHO SIGNED THE 1997 BAN refuses to accept any pleading NOT FROM THE CLINIC OWNER . the order clearly protects the nurse WHO IS STILL WORKING THERE but theocrat judges refuse to do their duty and use technicalities to avoid law F.A.C.E. enforcement. The Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act signed by President Clinton is violated to this day by Cox and the Donald Ted Williams Family each Saturday and during the 40 Days For Lies religious scam raking in millions of dollars each week across the nation to the Vatican owners.

another 40 DAYS FOR LIES encampment iglelally is allowed by the City of Charleston next to the east side sewer ditch further terrorizing the neighborhood of Fuseler Road . any religious extremist is enabled by Mayor for Life Joe Riley JUNIOR in his 37th year of reign for Vatican crimes UN-PROSECUTED unchallenged and often encouraged.

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