Message Board

Time Period:   Username Search:
Order By: Keyword Search:
   Reset Filters


Page:1 2

Posted May 25, 15 20:59 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)

Reay Paper; Laid & Wove


My initial reference for the paper making section was the UPSS 19th Century Stamped Envelope Catalog, which I failed to cite as a paper making reference, and will correct.

In the introductory section, it states: “The [endless] wire cloth creates two basic paper textures: the earlier 'laid' paper … and 'wove' paper... ...The texture of the two sides of paper is formed by two different surfaces: the wire cloth and the dandy roll, as modified by subsequent processes. … the upper surface (dandy roll) is generally smoother and the lower surface is generally rougher, taking on the characteristics of the cloth. This texture is sometimes quite pronounced on wove paper. Printing is usually on the upper (smooth) surface. However, sometimes the paper is turned over... In these cases, the printing is on the 'wire side'. These envelopes may have a pronounces screen-like surface texture and, at the extreme, have a fuzzy, generally unclean look to them.”

 No sources are cited. I will follow up with the editor when I see him at NAPEX.

The wikipedia entry says “ can also be used to make an imprint”, which does not contradict the above.

Concerning the De La Rue patent: “The Paper-making Machine – Its Invention, Evolution and Developement” by R. H. Clapperton, 1967 (google book; google search: de la rue watermark patent 1869) pg 228 describes the conventional watermark then states:

“ De La Rue, however invented the countersunk watermark... In other words, he used a die to press the wove cloth of the dandy inwards, so that when the dandy revolves on the stuff, the sheet was actually more bulky where the roll was countersunk... “

This method would require a 'wove' dandy covering, otherwise, the watermark would appear as a series of blips on the more widely spaced laid lines. I can say with certainty, that for the Reay examples I studied and photographed, the watermarks are pressed into the paper surface, not raised, and that the watermark is on the opposite side as the laid lines. These were all 1st quality laid paper .0040 - .0045 thick.

Reay Envelope Paper:

Ken: Thanks for the information on the effects of 1st quality paper on production. Very interesting - I had not seen that.

Two different 1st quality papers were use by Reay, from two suppliers (I don't have names). The watermarks were set approximately 90 degrees different. The watermarks from one type are generally horizontal while those from the other are generally vertical on the face of the envelope. In my study, there was an even split between standard and inverted watermarks, and approx 1 in 4 was mirrored or at a non-standard angle.

Posted May 25, 15 20:41 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Newton Centre, Mass

Home of the late Stephen Albert ... Pulitzer prize-winning composer and postal history collector.

Posted May 25, 15 20:07 by John Bowman (johnbowman)

Where did this originate?

Can someone tell me what city/state this tiny letter was from by the handstamp?


Posted May 25, 15 18:45 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Reay envelope paper

Congressional testimony about first quality Reay paper stressed that in every respect it slowed the envelope-making process. It took longer to cut because fewer sheets could be cut in a stack than Nesbitt papers. It took longer to gum because it was less porous and took longer to dry. It took longer to fold because it was stiffer. And so forth. This was an extraordinary product, and was treated as such by Reay. It is no surprise that it was configured to resemble writing paper of high quality, but no one has suggested it was made by hand, which means that the laid lines and batonné lines were simulated, even if one might also be able to detect lines impressed by the machine's wire belt.

I have not made a specialist's study of Reay envelopes, but all the ones I have at hand have right-reading upright watermark monograms when viewed from the front, as did nearly all Nesbitt envelopes. By contrast, Plimpton envelopes appear to have watermarks that are frequently flopped and/or inverted.

Posted May 25, 15 17:47 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Wove vs. Laid

As of 1948 (i.e., Hunter's book), the oldest dated paper came from the Eastern Han period (A.D. 25-220), pieces of which are in the British Museum. These fragments consist of laid paper, as were all of the Chinese papers known to Hunter that were dated to the succeeding ten centuries.

Hunter nevertheless believed, with no hard evidence, that the original Chinese papers ca. 105 A.D. were made from wove moulds rather than laid moulds. His reasoning was that wove moulds were a more primitive manufacturing form, inasmuch as paper could not be removed from the mould until it had dried. Drying handmade paper in the moulds was still practiced in China into the 20th century.

The Chinese invention of laid moulds, which most likely occurred in the later part of the 2nd century A.D., was a technological improvement, since it allowed paper to be removed from the mould before drying - this speeding up the process. Hunter called this transition "...the first real advance in papermaking." Although chain and laid lines are visible on all early Chinese papers, Hunter asserted that no "watermarks" had ever been found on these papers.

Until the 12th century A.D., laid moulds were made of fiber - probably bamboo. The Moors are thought to have introduced the use of wire, both for the chain and laid lines, and for watermarks as well.

Posted May 25, 15 16:37 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Wove vs. laid

Attached is an interesting image from Cathleen Baker’s “From the Hand to the Machine, Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums, Techonologies, Materials and Conservation,” (Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press 2010), showing book paper from 1898 with “laid lines” from a dandy roll.  In between the lines one can see the mesh of the wire belt on which the paper was formed.

BTW, the discussion has been exclusively about the fourdrinier machine, but there was (and is) another type of machine used to make paper known as a “cylinder” or “vat-and-mold” machine.  Whereas in the fourdrinier, the water with suspended paper fibers is poured over the mesh belt, in the cylinder machine, a cylinder with a mesh rotates through a vat of the liquid, picking up the fibers.  The cylinder machine was much cheaper than the fourdrinier, but initially produced poorer paper.  Baker, pp. 51-54.  The machine, however, was significantly improved and “such a machine, with refinements, was used to produce the paper on which the ‘Mulready’ covers and envelopes of 1840 were printed.”  Williams, Fundamentals, p. 44.  The cylinder machine apparently can use widely spaced wires which produce laid lines in basically the same manner as handmade papers.  Baker, pp, 103-5; Hunter, pp. 368-373.   “Today, currency paper with light-and-shade watermarks, as well as ‘mould made’ papers – imitation handmades – for finer printing, drawing and binding are made on cylinder machines that differ little from nineteenth-century designs.”  Baker, p. 53.

Also, wove paper was not viewed as inherently less desirable.  To the contrary, it was (and is) often preferred over handmade laid paper for certain types of printing (letterpress and lithography) and drawing.  Indeed, in the late 18th century, wove paper was made by hand by attaching a woven screen over the usual chain line grid of paper moulds.  Over the years, it appears that the general fashion for printed books went back and forth between wove and laid.  Baker, pp. 97-105.


Posted May 25, 15 15:41 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


The cited entry does not support Richard Taschenberg's text or illustration. The "Paper machine" article says this:

dandy roll: a mesh covered hollow roll that rides on top of the Fourdrinier. It breaks up fibre clumps to improve the sheet formation and can also be used to make an imprint, as with laid paper.

Posted May 25, 15 14:59 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Laid vs wove

"Correct me if I am wrong, but Hunter seems to be saying that all modern machine-made paper is fundamentally wove paper, and that the appearance of laid lines on modern 'laid paper' is due to the action of the Dandy roll." Yes. 

"Can that be corroborated for the last half of the 19th century?" Yes. That was Dard Hunter's point. He also observed that ribbing applied to the surface of machine-made paper by a fluted roller was another attempt to simulate laid paper, which was popular among 19th century printers, but holding it to the light reveals the difference.

"Is there such a thing as a true chain line in machine made paper?" Yes, but the machines were a commercial failure.

"All this still begs the question about the differences between a 'true' watermark or laid line, and either of these as produced by a Dandy roll." There isn't anything untrue about the watermark either way, nor with a countersunk watermark. It would be more correct to say that laid lines and "chain lines" (called batonné lines by postal stationery specialists) on machine-made paper are watermarks.

"But so far the authorities recognize that the marks applied by a Dandy Roll emulate the equivalent marks from handmade laid paper." Yes, but as decorative enhancements, not as essential consequences of the technology.

Postscript: As recently as the 2002 edition, the UPSS catalog of 19th century stamped envelopes and wrappers explicitly described laid lines as watermarks. 

Posted May 25, 15 14:33 by Rev. Stephen Knapp (bnkntguy)

Laid vs wove

Correct me if I am wrong, but Hunter seems to be saying that all modern machine-made paper is fundamentally wove paper, and that the appearance of laid lines on modern "laid paper" is due to the action of the Dandy roll.

Can that be corroborated for the last half of the 19th century?

Is there such a thing as a true chain line in machine made paper?

All this still begs the question about the differences between a "true" watermark or laid line, and either of these as produced by a Dandy roll.

But so far the authorities recognize that the marks applied by a Dandy Roll emulate the equivalent marks from handmade laid paper.

Posted May 25, 15 14:07 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Laid and Wove

"In modern machine-made paper the laid and chain lines are produced by means of a roller (dandy roll), which impresses these lines in the paper after the wet sheet has been formed. Therefore, machine-made paper of the laid type is nothing more than an imitation, for the laid wires are not necessary in the forming of the paper, as they are with a handmade sheet."

Dard Hunter, "Laid and Wove," The Printing Art, September 1921, reprinted in Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.

Posted May 25, 15 12:44 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Fourdrinier patent claim

That quote concerns the Fourdrinier claim for the chain mould machine, which was not a commercial success. In essence that system mechanized the manual process by linking a succession of individual moulds with a conveyor. 

The machine that worked, and for which the inventors are properly celebrated, was the endless-wirecloth version, which made only laid paper until the dandy roll was invented.

My reference is The Paper-making Machine: Its Invention, Evolution, and Development by R. H. Clapperton. Unfortunately I do not own a copy, so I can't provide extensive quotations, but sample pages on-line confirm what I learned in boutique printing in the 1960s.

Posted May 25, 15 10:39 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


"It is thought that the term 'wove' in connection with papermaking was first used in the patent granted to Henry Fourdrinier and dated July 24, 1806 (No. 2951). This specification reads in part: 'The method of making a machine for manufacturing paper of an indefinite length, laid and wove with separate moulds... a number of moulds of the description called laid or wove are hooked or fastened together to form one long mould."

Hunter, Dard, 1943, Papermaking, The History and Technique on an Ancient Craft. New York, Dover Publication, 1978 edition, p. 130.

Posted May 25, 15 5:07 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Laid Paper

I would like to see a more credible source than Wikipedia to support your narrative, which is the opposite of what I was taught. The Fourdrinier machine produced wove paper, not laid paper, which was why its product was disdained as low quality and why traditional paper-making persisted. Inventors tried various methods to simulate laid paper lines on the mechanized system, but none were satisfactory until the dandy roll. Adding monograms to create watermarks came as an additional benefit (and later still, De La Rue's 1869 patent for recessed watermarks, which might be the true explanation for the watermarks you report on one of the Reay papers). Steve Knapp's refrain about the polarity of paper sides and orientations is overdrawn for his purpose (ribbing is observed front and back, horizontal and vertical; watermarks on United States stamps are upright, inverted, reversed, and reversed inverted in roughly equal proportionate distributions; and perpendicular grain lie on booklet stamps reduced shrinkage in the horizontal dimension), but might apply to the best quality of Reay envelopes.

Posted May 24, 15 23:02 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)


Interesting that in 1826 they were touting laid pattern dandy rolls, but by 1870, the paper used by Reay for US envelopes was made with a woven wire dandy. Now, in the present, were back to laid pattern.

Posted May 24, 15 19:27 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Philadelphia Year Date

John and John,

Thanks so much. Looks like, based on the Washington Papers, that it is 1791.

Posted May 24, 15 11:13 by John Olenkiewicz (johnoz)

Philadelphia Year Date

Ken: Don't know if this is it but, In the Washington Papers "Founders Online" there is a letter from George Washington to Edward Rutledge, dated 16 January 1791. Its one of the eleven letters to Rutledge and the only one written in January.

Posted May 24, 15 10:16 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Philadelphia Year Date

Tough to do, Ken. This type of date stamp was used from 1766-1798.

Posted May 24, 15 8:37 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Philadelphia Year Date

Can any board member help me in identifying the year date of the Philadelphia marking (Jan 21) on the attached cover? Washington left office March 4, 1797, so it has to be 1797 or earlier...but, I'd like to see if anyone can pin down the exact year. Thanks.


Posted May 23, 15 22:19 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)


Matthew and Stephen:

Thanks for your kind comments. They're much appreciated!


Yes, I send the URL of the e-book to the judges. The title page also includes a QR Code link, and states that the exhibit is to be judged independently of the e-book. The exhibit includes subscript references to the section and paragraph numbers in the e-book. I also have a printed copy of the e-book which I hang below the frame.

Glad to here the watermark section was helpful.

Posted May 23, 15 20:02 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


Some interesting dates from Dard Hunter's book:

1282, watermarks originated in Italy

1690, the first watermark applied in North America was the word "Company", at William Rittenhouse's mill in Pennsylvania.

1810, Fourdrinier machine operating in France, but not commercially viable

1812, world's first commercially viable papermaking machine in use in England.

1814, London Times of 29 November the first newspaper printed on a cylinder press using papier-mache matrices.

1817, First paper-machine erected in America at Gilpin's mill near Philadelphia; first U.S. newspaper to use machine-made paper was Poulson's Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia.

1826, introduction by John Marshall, London, of watermark designs wired to the dandy roll; later these would be sewn on. The dandy roll covered with laid wire, not wove wire as had the earlier machines.

1870, watermark designs first soldered to the dandy roll, rather than sewn.

Posted May 23, 15 17:28 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)


I'm wondering about the practice of adding the 2¢ Advertising fee to the 10¢ postage already paid in Detroit and showing 12 as if it were due upon delivery.  Just lookig for opinions on why this might have been done.

Also, could not find in ASCC a listing for this 29 or 30mm cds with Mich on the bottom.



Posted May 23, 15 15:14 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Library Cleaning and Reorganization

I am finally cleaning the library up and in doing so one finds a number of extra things.

Happened to find three (Only One Left as of Sunday Morning) extra sets of the The Travers Papers which is an Incredible reference/study book published by the USPCS. 
If you might need it AND want to save $80 on the set ..... $155.00 plus $8.00 postage by PayPal. Email me at [email protected]

                                 The Travers Papers

Official Records United States Postal History and Postage Stamps, 1834-1851

Compiled by
Thomas J. Alexander, George Brett, Wilson Hulme II
Edited by Barbara Mueller

The history leading up to  and including the1847 stamps from official records, postal reform, postal conventions, etc.. A deluxe publication in two volumes, cloth, with slip case, dust jackets, edition of 405, 1,300+ pages, $225.00 plus $15.00.

The book dealers only have about a dozen left @ $240 with shipping; and they are not discounting them.


Posted May 23, 15 14:44 by Rev. Stephen Knapp (bnkntguy)

10c Reay E-book


Thank you for posting that link to your E-book! I am attracted to the idea as an augment for an exhibit. Question: do you provide a link to this in your synopsis when you submit your exhibit? Perhaps as reference material for the judges?

Secondly, I thank you especially for section 7.2 in which you vindicate a position I was taking in a discussion on watermarks that got terminated. I think I was trying to do in words alone what you have done with words and pictures, and it got some people to roll their eyes. Okay, it was too much. So to the interested, who can use the graphic support, use the link to his pdf and scroll down to p.21 for the beginning of an illustrated primer on the topic, and on p.23 you will find this:

"References to modern paper making state that the “Laid” lines and watermark are produced by the Dandy Roll. This contradicts historical reports that the laid pattern was produced by the screen. The pictures below confirm that the Reay paper was produced by a machine configured as seen in Fig 7.2.2 . These pictures were taken using a 1/16” high, fiber-optic light source directed horizontally across the surface of the envelope. Under this low angle lighting, the low areas are shadowed, producing a readily visible image that illustrates which patterns are impressed into each side of the paper. The images below show that the watermark is on the top surface, while the laid lines are on the bottom. A third pattern, produced by the fine mesh on the Dandy Roll, is somewhat visible in the watermark photo, and is clearly seen on the back flap (top surface. Same side as watermark)."

The "sidedness" of paper is a scientifically valid and known phenomenon, and can be used to help determine which translucent lines came from what. Unless the mesh on the Dandy roll is identical to the mesh on the screen, the two sides of a paper sheet will have an observable difference.

How about that!? I am not the only one who thinks like this!

Posted May 23, 15 8:00 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Richard T

Makes sense. Thanks.

Posted May 23, 15 2:20 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

10c Reay E-Book


Congratulations! What a visually stunning production and I thoroughly enjoyed my first pass through it.

Posted May 22, 15 22:37 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)

Early stamped envelope production:

John B. :

Thanks for your question. It made me think a little deeper about the process and helped me connect some dots.

The process has been described in the stamped envelope catalogs and journals for many years. The attached picture shows an envelope knife. The current UPSS 19th Century catalog also has a picture of an operator in front of a press, placing a similar knife on a 2”+ stack of paper, which already has a hole where a similar stack was cut.

The challenge is to prove the sequence using only the finished envelopes. I'll expand a bit on my previous post.

On laid paper, the closely spaced “laid lines” are perpendicular to the widely spaced chain lines. Both are perpendicular / parallel to the paper sheet edges. Envelope blanks were cut at an angle to the sheet edge to minimize paper loss. The finished envelopes therefore appear “diagonally laid”. I did a study of knife angle (which I have termed “Orientation”) on a group of (27) 10c Reay (1870) envelopes, by measuring the angle of the chain lines to the bottom edge of the envelope. The range was 37-55 degrees and seemed random. This is consistent with hand placement of the knife. The indicia alignment for the same group was consistently good. If the envelopes had been cut after printing/embossing, the indicia would show the same 37-55 degree rotational variation.

My 10c Reay e-book has many related illustrations and much additional information (please excuse the typo's). It was written to accompany my 10c Reay exhibit, which will be at NAPEX.


Posted May 22, 15 16:15 by Charles E. Cwiakala ([email protected])

U.S. Postal History at Auction in England ...

The Cavendish Philatelic Auctions (Derby, England) 4th June 2015 Auction No. 778 includes a fine range of 18th [Colonial era] and 19th centuries U.S. postal history (Lot Nos. 1324-1366):

Chuck Cwiakala

Posted May 22, 15 10:45 by Richard Drews (bear427)

Envelope Manufacturing


About 30 years ago i was doing some business with the Niagra Envelope company. They gave me a tour of their Chicago area plant. They had everything from computer controlled high speed presses that ran constantly producing just one type of enevelope to machines that were old when they were printing advertising envelopes for the 1901 Pan Am Expo. The old machines were fed with precut forms and did an amazing number of careful folds at reasonably high speed. I can't speak for other companies, but the machinery that was still operational from the 1870s and 1880s was using pre cut stock. It is entirely possible that they or other companies printed envelopes several up on larger presses and then die cut them before gumming, folding and finishing the envelopes. The printing was thesimple part.


Posted May 22, 15 9:31 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

SFO/ChinaJapan cover for Rick

Thanks Rich!

I am still accepting donations of China/Japan covers to/from SFO to fill the void in my 5-frame ;-)

Thanks for judging out in Denver this past weekend and nice to see you, even if short.

Posted May 22, 15 8:34 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Envelope manufacturing

Richard T,

How do we know that the envelopes were cut before printing, rather than after?

Posted May 21, 15 23:03 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Mexican-American War (with Poetry Clipping)

This was inside.


Posted May 21, 15 23:01 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Mexican-American War - "Pointing Hand"

*Warning: Does Not Contain British Material*

Not sure if there are any Mexican-American War specialists, but the attached cover from Wheeling, VA to 1st Lieutenant George W(ashington) Clutter intrigued me for two reasons. The first was the hand drawn "pointing hand" that simply says "send it to him". The second (next scan) was the poetry clipping affixed inside the cover, which is contemporary, that has news of the Senate and Whigs on the reverse. Not sure if this would win an "earliest pointing hand" contest, but...


Posted May 21, 15 22:53 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)

Early stamped envelopes production

A steel knife in the shape of the unfolded envelope blank (much like a cookie cutter) was placed, by hand, on a stack of paper. The knife was then forced through the paper stack in a press. The blanks were then printed and embossed. The early Nesbitt envelopes were gummed and folded by hand. As technology progressed, the folding and gumming was done by machine. As far as I know, this process was used at least through 1900.

If we examine the angle of the “laid lines” with respect to the edge of the envelope, considerable variation can be found, confirming hand placement of the knife. Inverted, and mirror image watermarks resulted from the orientation of the paper stack on the press table, and are quite common. I haven't seen any references to paper size.

If anyone is looking for a challenge, consider this: The watermarks were impressed into the wet paper web by “wire forms” on the dandy roll. In the early days, these wire forms were made by hand, and attached to the dandy roll by hand. No two are alike in form or placement. Each envelope has multiple watermarks (some partials). In theory, by examining enough envelopes, one could “plate” the dandy roll in much the same manor as the early stamp printing plates have been plated. This would yield at minumum the width of the paper web and the diameter of the dandy roll.

Posted May 21, 15 16:39 by Phil Rhoade (rugface)

Postage Due

Richard B -- It was probably double-weight. The special overseas military airmail rate was 6¢ per ½ oz. It likely weighed ½-1 oz.

Posted May 21, 15 16:28 by richard babcock (babcock)


Why was six cents due ? thank you


Posted May 21, 15 12:51 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

The Red Envelope

Ken L:

Thank you for the suggestion that I investigate The Red Envelope

For others intersted, it is available in digital form from Google Books, at the following LINK

A fast review appears to indicate I will find nothing about my primary interest, but there quite a bit of historical information about the evolution of these companies which held printing contracts for government stamped envelopes.  I was particularly fascinated to learn of the rather incestuous relationship between the primary companies which held these contracts.

Posted May 21, 15 12:11 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

James Myerson Confederate Navy Collection

I have just added the above collection in HTML form to the site. It is linked from the "exhibits" link at top of this page. A direct link to the HTM page is here.

If you have not seen this material, I highly recommend you take a look as it has not been seen publicly in this form and will not be shown at an exhibit anytime soon.

Posted May 21, 15 11:21 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

To France

The sender was Marine Sgt. George Thomas at Midway Island; the recipient was Army Lt. Peter Thomas of the First Engineer Special Brigade, whose unit had participated in the invasion of Normandy and was located at Utah Beach by June 16 when this cover was mailed.
The enclosed letter reads as though the brothers were pressing the limits of censorship. “From [your new insignia] I gather that you have things and stuff to do with sea craft of great speed coupled with a punch to boot. At least the anchor, eagle and tommy gun on the insignia suggested it.” That’s a description of the Combined Operations Command insignia; the D-Day landings were the largest combined operation in history.
“Since the invasion has started Lord only knows what you’re doing. . . . In your letter you intimate that you foresee great need of pure luck — of which I sincerely hope you always have — all of which leads me to believe you are up to things. You say you may not be able to write me for some time. . . .” His brother’s luck did persist; he was a captain in the Army reserve during the 1960s.
Air mail collectors and military postal history buffs are especially fond of two-ocean covers such as this one, flown across the Pacific from Midway to Hawaii on a Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) flight, to San Francisco on a Pan American Airways Clipper or a Navy seaplane, across the continental United States on a commercial airline flight, and across the Atlantic aboard another Clipper, military, or contract carrier flight.


Posted May 21, 15 10:57 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


The serial publication The Red Envelope has better information than most:

Title The Red Envelope
Place Worcester, MA
Publisher U.S. Envelope Co.
Type Journal
Summary Holdings Vol. 1 - 24 (1915-1925)
Holdings Bound: vol.1 (July 1915)-vol.24 (July 1925)
Language English
Notes History: Ceased publication #24 July 1925
Smith # 24930
Location APRL

However, there is probably not much similarity to the standard letterpress techniques that produced your RPEs. Embossing was a more complicated and secure method; letterpress was quick and cheap, on whatever press was handy using whatever sheet size and layout fit. Your example needed an ample press because small presses with a limited number of form rollers was inadequate to deliver substantial solid ink coverage.

Besides the security of embossing, Nesbitt's 1850s envelope presses had the ability to perfect (print on both sides of the sheet simultaneously) to apply the black ink patent lines, an additional level of security and complexity.

Posted May 21, 15 10:34 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

HELP - Printing Postal Stationery in the 19th Century

I wonder if there might be a Board reader with knowledge of the printing capabilites of the Morgan and Nesbitt envelope companies who produced many of the envelopes for the POD during the 1860s-1900, or could point me to a source of information.

My particular interest at present is the manufacture of the Registered Package Envelopes, an example of which is shown below. These were printed using a heavier card stock - perhaps 90# weight - than ordinary stamped envelopes with embossed franking.

As I am not a stationery "expert", I've always assumed that these ordinary envelopes were produced in larger sheets with several rows of several envelopes across, then cut and folded. Are the overall sheet sizes known, and what were their dimensions? Would these same presses (and the associated die cutting devices) accomodate this heavier card stock, or would smaller presses be required to print such stock?

I am also interested in learning what Manufacturer(s) might have provided these presses, what size of stock they could accommodate, etc. In view of the many minor printing variations encountered on some of the RPE, its seems likely that the type was set for multiple RPE and printed concurrently rather than most being printed with only one or two settings of type. But I don't know this for certain.

This seems to be a path that someone may have investigated in the past -- can anyone point me in a proper direction?

Thanks. Contact me via the Board and I'll provide direct contact information.

Mike Ludeman


Posted May 20, 15 23:16 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Always Learning!

I would have never known that there was a Retaliatory Rate to France in 1853. Some amazing covers out there on this board. The sheer variety of really cool covers never gets dull, and always interesting to see how many potential interpretations there can be when many perspectives are involved.

Posted May 20, 15 22:35 by Richard Drews (bear427)

SFO/ChinaJapan cover for Rick

Loved your exhibit in Denver.



Posted May 20, 15 21:48 by Rob Faux (robfaux)


Really like the 4 cent coil cover.  Nice.

The quad rate cover has the wrong stamp on it, but I guess it's nice enough.

Steve W,
Was going to ask where the packet marking was, but found it on a second look.  NIce article on French packet markings in the Chronicle, by the way.

John B,
Have you ever deciphered and research the addressee company on the retialiatory rate cover you show?  Just curious, it tickled some memory in my brain, but I can't pin it down.


Posted May 20, 15 21:42 by Regis Hoffman (naylandsmith)

WWI from France

I study (and exhibit) mail to Hollywood movie stars.

Here is a WWI military cover from France to silent film actress Mary Pickford. Note the rather sparse address.

This shows the worldwide appeal of Hollywood movie stars, even during wartime.


Posted May 20, 15 21:17 by Richard Drews (bear427)

6 times rate to France

Bottom cover is a nice 90 cent solo use.



Posted May 20, 15 19:38 by Steve Walske (steve w)

2nd Retaliatory


This one was on the first sailing after the end of the Retaliatory Period. Franked 21c for the retaliatory rate, but 5c would have sufficed.

There is also a faint "BRITISH PACKET" marking over the address.


Posted May 20, 15 19:27 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

In Chip 'CG' Honor - The Worst CG ever to France

December 22, 1851 London to Paris paying the 10d rate for under 1/4 ounce (or 7.5g if you prefer) plus 1d Late Fee with five 1841 2d Blues (Scott #4) and a single 1841 1d Red (Scott #3) with a 'CG' twist due to some interesting separations...


Posted May 20, 15 19:15 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Triple Weight France

Five plus Three x 2 Early use, former EDU


Posted May 20, 15 19:13 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Double Weight France

Five plus Three


Posted May 20, 15 19:11 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Covers To France

Here are a few more modern examples, but none the less, tough to come by. Single UPU rate, 5 cents per ounce Double UPU rate, 5 cents for the first ounce plus 3 cents for second ounce. Triple UPU rate, 5 cents for the first ounce, plus 3 cents for each additional ounce.


Page:1 2