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Monday, October 24, 2005
Most early societies had systems for transmitting messages. As cicilization expanded, communication became an essential element in the ancient world. The earliest postal system originated about 2000 B.C. in Egypt as ameand of prompt conveyance of orders from the pharoahs to their lieutenants in regions throughout the empire.

Although the Persians and the Greeks also developed communication systems, the Romans, with their well-unified empire and superb roads, conceived the most elaborate mail delivery scheme, composed of numerous relays stations. Some historians contend that in a singel day a Roman dispatch could cover 170 miles -- a feat not equaled in Europe until the 19th century.

The modern postal system dates almost 150 years to a British treatise, Post Office Reforms: Its Importance and Practicability, by Rowland Hill, an educator and civilservant. The extensive study examined postal costs and concluded that the single fixed rate for all mail, regardless of weight or destination, did little to cover the costs of delivering a letter. From this idea sprang the practice of pricing a letter by weight and the distance it had to travel.

Hill also introduced the postage stamp, an adhesive label that served as a prepayment of postage for uniform rates and could be bought by the sender in advance at any post office. By 1840 stamps could be purchased in books of twenty. Questions have arisen over whether Hill or one of his assistsnce actually conceived the idea of a postage stamp, but in light of his vase renovations of an alomsot paralyzed system, the point becomes moot.

(Source: "Origins of Everything Under, and Including the Sun" By: Charles Panati)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:45 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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