Mike Beversluis

Friday, January 05, 2007

International Mail

How international mail moves across borders. I have no idea how International Male gets anywhere. Anyway, in the olden days and not surprisingly, things were harder:

Before the UPU was founded in 1874, the international mail system was little more than a complex network of bilateral treaties. Senders had to arrange privately for every leg of the shipping. To send a letter to your cousin in Russia, first you might have to find someone you knew in France, who could forward it to someone he knew in Germany, and so forth. Some people even offered their services as "forwarding agents." Look at old letters and you can see postmarks for each trip segment.
Except that this is how email works. I think. Internet stamps anyone?

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