More than 150 years of the postcard

June 26, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

Before there was Twitter, there was . . . the postcard.

Most of us have postcards lying about here and there, and my guess is that all of us at one time or another have sent a postcard. But we have done so with little or no knowledge about how postcards came into being.

That happened about 150 years ago when the  postal service empire of Austria-Hungary accepted a proposal from economist Emanuel Herrmann to produce a card — something on stiffer-than-normal paper — and treat it like a letter. That was in 1869. Herrmann was not the first person to propose such a device. The idea of the postcard had been in existence since the 1840s.

The postal service of Austria-Hungary printed about 3 million copies of the first card, and the public took to them with enthusiasm. The postal services a Great Britain and the United States followed soon thereafter, and postcards almost immediately became a standard form of mail. 

The Postal Museum of Great Britain currently has an exhibition commemorating a century and a half of communication by postcard. If you are interested in knowing more about the history have this fence fighting form, here’s the link: https://www.postalmuseum.org/wish-you-were-here/

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