Postal Services – a Potted History
It now feels like a completely natural and simple thing to do – sending an item or a letter to somebody else either in this country or another. Postal services have been established for hundreds of years – which means we often can’t comprehend the complex processes behind them –nor can we understand a world in which we couldn’t communicate or share physical items with each other. But there was a time, albeit many years ago, in which not everybody had that luxury. Here we take a quick look at how the way you send packages has evolved through the years:
In the beginning…
‘Post’ as we know it today and the concept of sending letters and parcels was initially developed in ancient empires in Persia, India and China. Of course back then a less sophisticated system was in place, with letters and notes delivered on foot and via birds, camels or horses. Despite this, the systems in many different parts of the world are very similar to those postal services use today, albeit less efficient.
The only way to communicate
Understandably, this wonderful way of communicating with one another without the need to be in the room quickly gained popularity. Soon, postal services were established by most governments, with the cost of sending the letter or document pre-paid by the sender at an establishment such as a post office. Eventually, stamps were introduced as a way of quantifying, purchasing and proving postage – simplifying the process as it enabled smaller documents and items to be sent via a post-box. It was only later on that private companies and couriers were also responsible for sending parcels and post.
Letters were particularly important during the first and second world wars, as it was the only line of communication soldiers on the front line had to connect with their loved ones at home, and vice versa. Letters were hotly anticipated and cherished on arrival – even though they were often censored by the government to conceal top-secret information from spying enemy eyes. Sadly, they were also often the method through which families were informed of their loved one’s death, along with telegrams.
Eventually, the telephone was invented – offering people a fresh way to communicate with one another. Naturally, many people stopped sending so many letters updating their loved ones with details of their lives as all they had to do was pick up the phone and dial. They could hear their voice – which was so much more personal. Telegrams became obsolete, but letters remained essential as written records and official documents and notifications. Many didn’t have telephones – or preferred letters.
The internet as we know it was born in 1991, and since then email (or Electronic Mail, as it was originally known!) has overtaken traditional mail as a form of communication. Its instant nature and the ability to send digital media has made it a greater threat to the traditional letter than the telephone – as the content is not only recorded, but recorded indefinitely with the facility to duplicate with the click of a mouse if needs be. Yet letters are still necessary for many different purposes – and as of yet, we are unable to send physical packages digitally.
Technology and postal services in harmony
Technology continues to enhance and revolutionise every area of our lives – and postal and courier industries are no exception. We can now use technology to send parcels more efficiently –as electronic systems allow real-time tracking and monitoring of the progress of items. Advances in vehicular technology and engineering have also made a difference – as we now have more methods to send letters and parcels than ever before – by air, sea, train, vans and lorries.
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