Development of British Postage Printed on Site to 2011
IntroductionThis one frame display depicts the development of postage printed by, or in front of, the customer and the machines used in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II up to 2011.
The story begins when Penny-in-the-Slot and meter franking machines were introduced in the early 20th century, but it was not until 1947 that machines were first installed at some Post Office counters nationwide that printed variable value adhesive labels for use with parcel mailing.
From the latter part of the 20th century there has been a steady increase in new machine types, either in long- or short-term use, or for a set trial period of as little as four days.
As these machines gained in sophistication, more postal services were provided resulting in lots of similar looking mail items. Invariably these differed only in the overprinted face value or other text, therefore examples of all service types are not included here.
Generally excluded are receipts from the machines, where issued, and traditional postage stamps that have been printed in their entirety by a Post Office print supplier and later vended from coin-operated equipment
Special emphasis has been placed on displaying behind-the-scenes material such as unadopted cliché designs, engineers' machine testing and setting labels, and un-overprinted base label stock.