Friday, July 30, 2010


Maybe we shouldn’t mind the new 46-cent stamp. After all the Post office folks say they need it. The new two-cent increase will take place in January. Actually each increase in postal rates takes us back in time and some people have said that's not such a bad idea.

The last time it cost in the neighborhood of 40-cents to mail a single sheet letter was 1847. Then, you could send a letter coast to coast for 40-cents. In the early 1800’s the letter carrier eared two-cents for every letter he delivered. At those rates, to earn what the average postal worker makes today, the horseback letter carrier would have had to carry over two million pieces of mail a year.

The oldest known postal system goes back to the ancient world. In the 2nd millennium BC in Egypt and in the 1st millennium in China, message relay systems were established using riders on horseback.

Perhaps the best early postal service was the Persian system, established around 529 BC by Cyrus the Great and it still is considered one the great achievements of the ancient world. On the Sardis-Susa road alone, 111 relay stations connected population centers 1-thousand, 600 miles apart.

Rome used a similar system to keep in touch and trade with their conquered territories. When Rome collapsed so did the postal system and it wasn't re-established until the Renaissance. Then the University of Paris inaugurated a postal service that lasted five centuries. It was begun to carry letters and money between students at the University and their parents throughout France. Things haven't changed much have they?

No comments:

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation