Experimental and Early Machine Postmarks of England 1857-1912


Historical Background

Soon after the introduction of prepaid postage and use of the first postage stamp in England in 1840, the postal authorities recognized a need for clear and legible postmarks as well as an improvement in the handling of the ever-increasing volume of mail.

In 1853, Pearson Hill, son of Rowland Hill (so-called 'father' of the prepaid postage stamp) became involved with those problems, and by 1857 he had developed and patented the first rapid postmarking machine.

Between 1857-1912, the London General Post Office tested and/or evaluated no less than eighteen machines, most of which were of non-British manufacture.


This exhibit offers an overview through postal history of the development or evolution of trial and early postmarks, applied by the early postmarking machines tested and/or evaluated by the General Post Office at London between the years 1857 and 1912.

This display is from the London Postal History Group archive. It is only available as downloadable files, but may be freely downloaded by non-GBPS members