• FA-112650 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
medien.welten (media.worlds)
1850 - 1899

Letterbox with collection bag

System Th. Maynz-C. O. Weber, Offenbach, 1883


Letter culture

The increase in business and private correspondence in the 19th century requires a standardised transportation system and leads to the introduction of stamps, envelopes and post boxes.

The growing number of private, business and official letters in the 19th century contributes to the expansion of public postal services. In order to streamline postal communication, post boxes are set up, postmen are employed and stamps are introduced. Gradually, the mail delivery service is also extended to rural regions. Postal charges based on the weight and distance of the consignment are standardised and lowered.

The continuously growing number of letters requires more efficient processing. Letters, too, undergo change. Instead of folding the letter paper several times and writing the address on the outside, they are inserted into ready-made envelopes. Public authorities seal their letters with adhesive pads instead of wax seals. Consignors put the stamps onto the letters themselves; there is no longer a need to go into a post office to pay for a consignment. Postmarks provide information about the transportation route and transit time. The content is also monitored. Despite the supposed privacy of correspondence, letters are opened up and read by clerks in secret post locations; suspicious sections are copied.

Inv.Nr. 54803/1
Member of