16,389 letter-carriers were serving a population of 32,000,000. An extension to rural districts was started in 1896, and by December 1901, 4,000,000 of the rural population were within the scope of free delivery. Since the 1st of October 1885 a system has been in force for the immediate delivery by special messengers of letters, parcels, &c., for addresses within certain areas. A special ten-cent stamp (or its equivalent) is required in addition to the ordinary postage.
The registry system did not attain any degree of excellence until after 1860; and the money-order system was first established in 1864. The aggregate number of money orders, domestic and foreign, issued during the fiscal year 1906 was 61,497,861, of the value of $507,563,719. A step towards the popularization of the registry system was authorized in December 1899; letter-carriers in many city districts now accept and register letters at the door of the householder. Sea post offices for sorting mails during the Atlantic transit were established in December 1890 on the steamers of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American lines, and later on the vessels of the International Navigation Company. This plan effects a saving of from two to fourteen hours in the delivery of mails from Europe. The issue of “postal notes,” commenced in 1883, was abandoned in 1894. The introduction of “postal checks” for small fixed amounts has been advocated. A new postal convention with Canada, removing the former restriction against sending merchandise, came into force on the IS(of March 1888. Uniformity of postage rates having been previously established, the United States and Canada became virtually one postal territory.
A convention for an exchange of parcels with Jamaica, admitting articles not exceeding 11 ℔, was agreed to in 1887; and since then conventions on similar lines have been concluded with other colonies and countries in America. The first arrangement of the kind with any European country was made with Germany, and came into operation on the 1st of October 1899. The postal laws, regulations and domestic conditions of the United States have been extended, by act of Congress, to Porto Rico and Hawaii. The “island possessions” (Guam, the Philippine Archipelago and Tutuila) have also been brought within the scope of the domestic conditions, including the rates of postage. The service introduced into Cuba, though modelled on the American plan, is practically autonomous.
Telegraphs.—The formation of a postal telegraph system has continued to be a subject of discussion by the postmasters general. In his report for the year 1888 D. M. Dickinson proposed the appointment of an expert commission authorized to erect short experimental lines. His successor, John Wanamaker, for four years vigorously advocated a limited postal telegraph service. Under this proposal, contracting telegraph companies were to furnish lines, instruments and operators, and to transmit messages at rates fixed by the government; the department was to receive a small sum per message, to cover its expenses in collection and delivery. In 1894 Mr Bissell expressed the opinion that a government system would be unprofitable and inexpedient.
Savings Banks.—The establishment of postal savings banks was also recommended by Mr Wanamaker in his reports for the years 1889 to 1892, and by J. A. Gary in 1897. What is regarded as a step in this direction was taken in 1898, when the postal regulations were modified to allow money orders to be made payable at the office of issue,—a “mild and very convenient adaptation of the European savings bank system, without the payment of interest” (Mr Emory Smith). Finally in 1910 a system of postal savings banks was authorized by Congress.
Authorities.—Postmaster-General’s Annual Reports: Joyce, History of the British Post Office (1893); J. Wilson Hyde, The Post in Grant and Farm (1894); A. H. Norway, History of the Packet Service (1895); F. E. Baines, Forty Years at the Post Office (1895); Raikes, Life of Rt. Hon. H. C. Raikes (1898); L’Union postale universelle, sa fondation et son développement (Lausanne, 1900); mémoire publié par le bureau international à l’occasion de la célébration du xxvme anniversaire de l’union 2–5 juillet 1900; Statistique générale du service postal (Bern); Statistique générale de la télégraphie (Bern).
The various postal and telegraph rates and regulations of the United Kingdom appear in the quarterly Post Office Guide (price 6d.). For the United States, see the U.S. Official Postal Guide. (T. A. I.)
POST AND PAIR, a card game popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. A hand consisted of three cards, a pair royal ranking highest, or failing this, the, highest pair. Another name of the game was Pink.
POSTER, a placard in the form either of letterpress or illustration, for posting up or otherwise exhibiting in public to attract attention to its contents. According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, before the Fire of London the rails and posts which protected foot-passengers in the streets were used for affixing theatrical and other announcements, whence the name of posting-bills or posters; and in later times the name has come more generally into use for any fairly large separate sheet, illustrated or not, used to attract publicity, even though not actually posted up. In the article Advertisements the use of posters is discussed, and newspaper posters (or contents bills) under Newspapers. But the illustrated poster has come to represent a special form of artistic design.
The earliest examples of pictorial posters were adorned with rough woodcuts. When lithography became a common commercial process, wood-blocks ceased to be employed. The modern artistic poster made a definite beginning in France about 1836, with a design by Lalance to advertise a book entitled Comment meurent les femmes. His example was followed by C. Nanteuil, D. A. M. Raffet, Gavarni, Bertrand, Grandville, Tony Johannot, E. de Beaumont, T. H. Frère, Edouard Manet and other artists of high repute. Most of these early designs were printed in black on white or tinted paper. Between 1860 and 1866 crude attempts at printing posters in colours were made in both France and England; In 1866 Jules Chéret began what was destined to be the most noticeable series of pictorial placards in existence, a series containing over a thousand items. Chéret was originally employed in a lithographic establishment in England before he began to work for himself, and he used his knowledge there acquired to adapt all three primary colours, economically used, to astonishingly brilliant ends. For a considerable time he remained without a rival, though he had hosts of imitators. Eugène Grasset, a decorative designer of great versatility, produced the first of a small number of placards which, though inferior as advertisements to those of Chéret, were learned and beautiful decorations. Somewhat later a sensation was caused in Paris by the mordantly grotesque posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, in which the artist reduced detail to a minimum and obtained bold effects by the employment of large masses of flat colour. Important work, similar in character to Lautrec’s, was produced by Ibels, Bonnard, T. A. Steinlen and others. A new and contrary direction was given to poster design by Mucha, a Hungarian resident in Paris, whose placards are marked by delicate colour and richness of detail. The following are amongst French artists who have designed posters of conspicuous merit: J. L. Forain, Willette, Paléologue, Sinet, ]ossot, Roedel, Mayet, Cazals, Biais, De Feure, A. Guillaume, Ranft, Réalier-Dumas, F. Valloton and Metivet. Occasionally eminent French painters, such as Carrière, Boutet de Monvel, Aman-jean, Schwabe, have made essays in poster-designing.
In England the first artists of repute to attempt the pictorial placard were Godfroy Durand and Walter Crane; but the first bill to attract widespread attention was one by Fred Walker to advertise a dramatized version of The Woman in White (1871). This was engraved on wood by W. H. Hooper. Shortly after this time pictures by Royal Academicians and others began to be reproduced as advertisements (the best-known case being that of Sir John Millais’s “Bubbles”), but these have nothing directly to do with poster-designing. Stacy Marks, Hubert von Herkomer (the great poster for the Magazine of Art), Sir Edward Poynter and Sir James Linton are among popular painters who have made special drawings for reproduction as posters.
About 1894 the English poster began to improve. Designs by Aubrey Beardsley for the Avenue Theatre, by Dudley Hardy for various plays, and by Maurice Greiffenhagen for The Pall Mall Budget, were widely noticed by reason of their originality, simplicity and effectiveness. Simplicity was carried even farther by “ the Beggarstaff Brothers ” (James Pryde and William Nicholson), whose posters are perhaps the most original yet produced by Englishmen. Among other British designers the following have executed artistic and interesting placards: Frank Brangwyn, R. Anning Bell, John Hassall, Cecil Aldin, Phil May, Leonard Raven-Hill, Henry Harland, Robert Fowler, Wilson Steer, Charles R. Mackintosh, MacNair and MacDonald, Edgar Wilson, Charles I. Foulkes, Mabel Dearmer, Albert Morrow and C. Wilhelm.
Poster design on the continent of Europe has been largely influenced by French work, but designs of much originality have been made in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain. In Germany, among the most typical posters are those of Sattler, Otto Fischer, Gysis, T. T. Heine, Speyer, Max Klinger, Dasio, Hofmann and L. Zumbrusch. The principal Belgian designers include Privat Livemont, Rassenfosse, Berchmans, Meunier, Duyck and Crespin, V. Mignot, Donnay, Everzepoel, Cassiers and Toussaint. Of Italian designers those whose work is most characteristic are Mataloni and Hohenstein; while the best Spanish posters—those to advertise bull-fights and fairs—are mostly anonymous. The Spanish artists Utrillo and Casas have signed posters of more than