Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/197

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183
POST, AND POSTAL SERVICE


On the 12th of February 1892 letter cards bearing an imprinted penny stamp, and made to be fastened against inspection, were issued to the public at a charge of 1s. for 10 cards. The charge was reduced almost at once to 9d. for 8 cards. Similar cardsLetter and Post Cards. have long been in use on the continent of Europe, but they do not enjoy much popularity in Great Britain either with the post office, which finds them inconvenient to handle in sorting and stamping, or with the public. The number issued annually is about IO millions, not counting those of private manufacturers.

The following table gives the number of post cards:—

Estimated Number of Post Cards delivered in the United Kingdom,
and the Increase per cent. per Annum.

Year. England and
Wales.
Scotland. Ireland. United
Kingdom.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
1872 . .  64,000,000  8,000,000 4,000,000 76,000,000
1875 . .  73,369,100 11.6  9,206,300 6.7 4,540,900 5.5 87,116,300 10.7
1881–1882 114,251,500 10.4 14,651,400 9.3 6,426,100 6.9 135,329,000 10.1
1884–1885 134,100, 000 4.3 18,400,000 5.5 7,900,000 3

I

160,400,000 4.4
1889–1890 184,400,000 8.4 22,900,000 5 . 9,800,000 5.4 217,100,000 7.8
1893–1894 209,100,000 1

4

27,400,000 2.2 12,000,000 6.2 248,500,000 1.6
1894–1895* 271,600,000 29.9
dec.
28,700,000 4.7 12,500,000 4.2 312,800,000 25.9
1895–1896 268,300,000 1.2
inc.
32,200,000 12.2 14,000,000 12.0 314,500,000 0

6

1900–1901 359,400,000 4.9 41,600,000 2.0 18,000,000 6.5 419,000,000 4.7
1905–1906 676,500,000 9.6 91,000,000 5.0 32,800,000 6.8 800,300,000 9.0

 *Private cards with adhesive stamps first allowed in this year.

Post cards were first introduced in Austria on the 1st of October 1869, and were first issued in Great Britain on the 1st of October 1870. Only one kind of card was employed, and this was sold for one halfpenny; but on the complaints of the stationers, a charge of 1/2 d. per dozen for the material of the card was made in 1872, and permission was given for private persons to have their own cards stamped at Somerset House. In 1875 a stouter card was put on sale, and the charges were raised to 7d. per dozen for thin cards and 8d. per dozen for stout cards. In 1889 the charges were reduced, and they are now sold at 10 for 51/2d. and 11 for 6d. respectively. On the 1st of September 1894, private post cards with an adhesive halfpenny stamp were allowed to pass by post, and the result has been greatly to diminish the number of cards purchased through the post office. It is estimated that 232 out of the 400 millions of cards delivered in 1899-1900 were private cards. The sizes of the official cards were again altered in January 1895 and November 1899. The regulations forbidding anything but the address to be written on the address side of a post card were made less stringent on the 1st of February 1897; and in 1898 unpaid post cards, which were previously charged as unpaid letters, were allowed to be delivered on payment of double the post card rate. These various changes, especially the use of the private card and the popularity of illustrated post cards, have contributed to the rapid increase in the number of post cards sent by post. Reply post cards were first issued on the 1st of October 1893. Their use as not been extensive. Only about 11/2 million are issued yearly.

Book Packets and Samples.—The table at foot of page shows the estimated number of book packets, circulars and samples delivered in the United Kingdom, and the increase per cent. per annum. The rate of 1/2d. for 2 oz. for the book post has remained unaltered since the 1st of October 1870. Changes have been made in the regulations defining the articles which may be sent by book post, and prescribing the mode of packing them so as to admit of easy examination for the purpose of detecting letters, &c., sent by the halfpenny post. The book post received a great impetus in 1892 (May 28) by the permission to enclose book packets in unsealed envelopes. Complaint is, however, made that such envelopes form a dangerous trap for small letters, which are liable to slip inside the Haps of open envelopes. But as the rate of postage for articles weighing over 2 oz. is now the same for letters and for book packets, articles over that weight derive no, advantage from being sent in open covers.

Sample Post.—The sample or pattern post, which was confined to bona-fide trade patterns and samples on the 1st of October 1870, was then assimilated to the book post (1/2d. for 2 oz.); but the restriction was difficult to enforce and irritating to the public, and the sample post was abolished on the 5th of October 1871, when the rates of letter postage were lowered. It was re-established on the 1st of October 1887 (Id. for 4 oz. or under, and 1/2d. for each succeeding 2 oz.); but when the Jubilee letter rates were introduced June 22, 1897) it lost its raison d’etre, and ceased to exist for inland purposes.

Year. England and
Wales.
Scotland. Ireland. United
Kingdom.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
Number. Inc. %
p.a.
1872 . 90,000,000 - 13,000,000 - 11,000,000 --- 114,000,000 --
1875. . 133,394,900 15.2 15,723,700 - 9,548,000 - 158,666,600 11

7

1881-1882 228,999,400 12.3 27,875,000 15.0 14,164,300 16.9 271,038,700 12.8
1884-1885 269,400,000 8.1 34,500,000 10.0 16,500,000 18.9 320,400,000 8.8
1889-1890 378,200,000 7.5 42,100,000 3.7 21,600,000 9.6 441,900,000 7.3
18 94- 18 95 522,500,000 6.7
dec.
60,800,000 8.2
dec.
31,300,000 10

2dec.

614,600,000 7.0
dec.
1898-1899' 590,900,000 3.6
inc.
75,100,000 2.3
inc.
35,500,000 5.3
inc.
701,500,000 3.5
inc.
1900-1901 619,300,000 4.0 77,800,000 3.7 35,300,000 8.6 732,400,000 4.2

Book packets over 2 oz. transferred to the letter post as a result of the Jubilee changes.

Newspapers.—The table on the next page shows the estimated number of newspapers delivered in the United Kingdom, and the increase per cent. per annum.

The carriage of newspapers by the post office does not show the same elasticity as other post office business This is due largely to the improved system of distribution adopted by newspaper managers and especially to the extension of the halfpenny press. The practice of posting a newspaper after reading it, under a co-operative arrangement, has practically ceased to exist. The carriage of newspapers by post is conducted by the post office at a loss.

It has been frequently stated on behalf of the post office that the halfpenny post is unremunerative. Representations are, however, made from time to time in favour of lower postage for literature of all kinds. It may therefore be of interest to mention that the postmaster-general of the United States has, in successive annual reports, deplored the effect on the post office service of the cheap rates for “second-class matter.” The cost of carriage over so large a territory is heavier than in the United Kingdom; but the postmaster-general states that the low rates of postage “involve a sheer wanton waste of $20,000,000 or upwards a year.” Facilities like the extension of free delivery are stifled, and the efficiency of the whole service cramped by the loss thus sustained. In the United Kingdom the rules respecting the halfpenny post were greatly simplified and brought into effect on the 1st of October 1906. The halfpenny post can be used only