The history of the development of communication. post office

It is no secret to anyone that world history is closely connected with the exchange of information - without this process, the existence of human society is simply impossible. A key role in such an exchange is played by communication, that is, the transmission and reception of information using various technical means. In very ancient times, people did not have multi-core smartphones, so they used more primitive means: voice, sounds, fire, smoke and the like.

Over time, the means and forms of communication changed - those who were smarter, a little later came up with writing and began to transmit information in writing. Since then, information began to be transmitted in a longer-lasting form and especially intensively, and its first transfer can be safely considered the birthday of the mail.

By the way, the word "mail" comes from the Polish "poczta" and the Italian "posta". The latter, in turn, arose from "posta" and the late Latin "posita", which is most likely an abbreviation of "statio posita in ..." - a stop, a station for variable horses, located in a certain place. Thus, initially this word denoted a station for the exchange of mail horses or couriers. The word “post” in the meaning of “post” was first used in the 13th century.
Today, the word “Mail” means the establishment of a post office (post office, post office), and a message, and the totality of correspondence received (letters, parcels).

The most interesting museum exhibits about mail were, perhaps, in the Museum of Communications named after A.S. Popov in St. Petersburg and at the Postal Museum in Ufa (about zero kilometer).

It's me, the postman Pechkin, brought a package for your boy

Historians are of the opinion that the Russians adopted the device of the postal service from the Mongol conquerors. Then on the main roads there were post stations (at a distance of 30 to 100 miles from each other) - “pits” on which “yamchi” (messengers) changed horses. In turn, the words "yam" and "yamchi" come from two Tatar words - "dzyam" (road) and "yam-chi" (conductor). From here came the word "coachman", by which they called people involved in the transportation of people and goods by horse-drawn vehicles. Yamshchiiik, not chasing horses ...

The work of the messengers was to wear and tear (and was subjected to harsh penalties in the case of dishonest performance of duties or failure to meet the delivery deadlines for the parcel), so they tried to recruit people stronger among them. For example, in 1639, the first package from Ufa to Moscow (via Kazan) took 70 days from equestrian messenger Grishka Pogorelsky (possibly because he had irrelevant maps in the navigator). Try to ride a horse for 70 days ... but this is only one way.

The layout of the postal station of the 17-18th century

The word "postman" (by the way, also a borrowed word) in pre-revolutionary Russia in the postal business began to be used from 1716, and before that the employees who delivered the mail were called "postmen". At the same time, there were varieties depending on the type of delivery mail: postmen delivered nonresident mail, and city letters - letter carriers.

Peter I seriously pumped mail through his reforms - it was during his reign that postal service in Russia appeared in all the main cities of the country. Mail became state, the first post offices in Russia were created, post offices in provincial cities were opened, and the post of postmaster was introduced.

Along with this, a new uniform for postal employees was introduced: a dark green cloth caftan with a departmental emblem - a postal horn (to notify of its arrival) and a red eagle (the coat of arms meant that the postal worker is a public servant and is under the guardianship and protection of a large brother). Later, an audible bell began to be used to sound the signal.

By the end of the 18th century, the length of postal routes in Russia amounted to no less than 33 thousand miles (here they suggest that it is 35204.4 kilometers).

By the way, since we were talking about transport, we can not help but mention the railway. The first mail cars (between St. Petersburg and Moscow) began to run in 1851.

Couverts and Cancellation

As now, as before, free cheese was only in mousetraps and cheeseburgers, punched like hamburgers. Simply put, sending letters was not a pleasure.

Letters at that time were written on paper, which was then folded with the text inside. Outside, on the clean side, the address was indicated, and the place of addition was often sealed with sealing wax. Then the letter was taken to the post office, where the employee (after weighing the shipment and receiving the money for sending it) put an impression of a special stamp. The resulting item was called “cover” (presumably from the English “to cover” - close) and was a prototype of modern envelopes.

A postmark is a device of the type of printing used at the post office to receive (manually or mechanically) postmarked stamps used for canceling signs of postage, confirming acceptance of the postal item, controlling the route and time on the way, and also making any notes.

Well, this is also called the print itself, which in itself carries quite a lot of different information (depending on color, shape, content, purpose and so on).
This is interesting: it is believed that the postman of the royal mail Henry Bishop (H. Bishop), who was appointed the first general postmaster of the United Kingdom in 1660, invented the stamp. Initially, the invention was intended to control the transit time of the mail, and the print contained only information about the month and day of delivery of the letter. And since they still did not know how to make stamps with a changeable date, the set for postal stations consisted of 366 stamps.
The volume of shipments was constantly growing, and soon such an imperfect method of payment very quickly became imposed, primarily for the service employees themselves. Therefore, in order to streamline the postage system in 1845, the postal department carried out a number of reforms, among which the introduction (first in St. Petersburg, and then in Moscow) of the first signs of postage. This is how stamping envelopes appeared - the very same covers, but with a stamp already printed on the front side. Initially, they were circulated only within the city, but already in 1848 there appeared options of different denominations, including for non-resident correspondence.

Since then, the appearance and design of the envelope has remained virtually unchanged.


The stamp system was replaced by postage stamps - special signs, franking (a form of advance payment by the sender of the forwarding and delivery of the shipment) which indicates the fact of payment for the agency's services (forwarding and delivery of both domestic and international correspondence). Small and beautiful pieces of paper with a given value (face value) and rich history.

My humble collection)

It is believed that their inventor in 1837 was the Englishman Rowland Hill, whose mother worked at the post office and repeatedly spoke about the difficulties of work, the shortcomings of the postal system and the high cost of payment. To this, Hill once put forward the idea of ​​a uniform postal tariff (paid by the sender) by issuing the pamphlet "Reform of the mail, its meaning and expediency." It was there that the marks appeared and envisaged: “ Perhaps this difficulty (of using stamped envelopes in certain cases) might be obviated by using a bit of paper just large enough to bear the stamp and covered at the back with a glutinous wash, which the bringer might, by the application of a little moisture, attach to the back of the letter, so as to avoid the necessity of re-directing it "(" Perhaps this difficulty (the use of labeled envelopes in certain cases) can be eliminated with a piece of paper large enough to carry the stamp, and coated on the back with a thin adhesive layer that the sender can, with a little dampening, put on the back emails in order to avoid having to redirect it. "). Чуть позже он стал автором первой марки («Чёрный пенни "). ну а дальше понеслось…

Первая в мире почтовая марка

В России марки появились немногим позже — в 1857 году А.П. Charulsky (an employee of the postal department) took over foreign experience and suggested introducing a branded system in our cold lands.

The first projects of Russian postage stamps (submitted by F.M. Kepler on October 21, 1856) were rejected by Charulsky. Later, EZGB senior engraver Franz Mikhailovich Kepler is connected to the brand’s project - after reading Charukovsky’s feedback on the first samples, he began to make the first samples - one of several options was chosen, which became the first postage stamp of Russia. Beautiful? ;)

The first brands had to be cut with scissors, although very soon they came to the conclusion that this was not the most convenient option. In 1847, Henry Archer, an employee of the Dublin Post Office, suggested making perforations, that is, punching through circular holes around the entire perimeter of the brand. But few people know that the perforation of postage stamps is carried out not only to facilitate the separation of stamps - the shape of the perforation and its size are also one of the ways to protect against counterfeiting.


The appearance of stamped envelopes made shipping easier and made the postal officer unnecessary. All this contributed to the soon appearance of mailboxes (for collecting and storing letters) right on the streets of the city.

At various times there were a lot of design options for mailboxes - street, home, vandal-resistant, and even with devices for issuing stamps - in many museums, as a rule, their entire collections.

War years

Civil letters are one thing, and the need for information exchange during hostilities, when mail was even more in demand, is quite another. The Great Patriotic War made itself felt - the movement of millions of people caused a huge increase in the flow of mail exchange, which is why mail (as well as telegraphs, about which a little later) worked around the clock, processing thousands of parcels daily. To understand the scope - in the Bashkir Republic alone (Ufa was an important component of the postal system of those times) during the war years more than 20 million letters were processed, sent and delivered in a timely manner.

A minute of entertaining arithmetic: the average LTE connection speed from Megafon in St. Petersburg was 50 megabits per second for reception. If we assume that all 20 million letters in the Bashkir Republic would have been written on A4 sheets (on both sides, that is, approximately 5000 characters per sheet) during the war years, then the resulting volume of text (20.000.000 * 5 Kb = 95.367 GB) could be downloaded in 4.5 hours. I would naively suppose that the correspondence of the whole country could well be deflated in a week ... so, what am I talking about.

An interesting fact: in the homeroc period, letters were often written using the free space of the sheet both along and across. This was done in order to save paper and money for paying for one postal message.

By the way, letters and postcards addressed to the front were sent for free.


At the end of the last millennium, engineering and technology began to develop particularly intensively; mobile communications and the Internet appeared in Russia. The high level of penetration of these technologies significantly affected the nature of communication between people: the flow of simple written correspondence continues to decline.

But the inhabitants of the country practically did not lose anything (except the joy of receiving a warm lamp letter) - after all, paper mail was replaced by electronic mail. To transmit information, you don’t need to make a fire, start carrier pigeons ... and you don’t even need to know where the mailbox closest to the house is located - just get a phone / tablet / laptop anywhere in the city and be in touch. Any mailing address, instant sending and receiving letters, any file attachments, collective correspondence, forwarding, sorting - yes, that's all. Being thousands of kilometers from the office, I was aware of what was happening at work.

But once, sending only one way would take more than one day ...
To be continued.

// Related links (Wikipedia): Everything about the mail
Just you read the first article about the history of the development of communications, all the rest will be published on the pages of a special project with MegaFon .

! important: This article does not purport to be complete and accurate.