II Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
Старт в науке


Шалько В.А. 1
Калиниченко Н.П. 1
Автор работы награжден дипломом победителя III степени
Текст работы размещён без изображений и формул.
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 I. Introduction

Is the topic of my project somehow connected with the knowledge of English? Of course, yes. English is becoming a global language. Problems of the 21st century such as problems of war and peace, democracy, ecology, demography cannot be solved if people do not speak the same language. So I can’t waste time. Besides, I like English and study it every day. Moreover, Great Britain is a country citizens of which had made many investigations and discoveries.

One of them is a simple post stamp. Almost everyone collects something in some period of his life, and many of them are fond of collecting stamps because they have an opportunity of learning much from their collection. By reading about stamps, envelopes, mailboxes, postage we are adding many interesting facts to what we know. Many world-famous stamp collections started in a small way with one or two items. Often such private collections are given to museums, libraries and public galleries so that others might take pleasure in seeing them.

Now collecting stamps is not my hobby, but after learning much information about discovery of stamp by the English probably I will make collecting stamps my favourite way of spending free time.

That’s why I wanted to investigate the usage of stamps, envelopes, mailboxes and postage in different times to show the actuality of this topic nowadays.

So, the purposes of my work are to investigate:

1) the history of communication in the ancient times;

2) how the first paper letter envelope was invented;

3) the appearance of the first post stamp and stamps in different countries;

4) the importance of using post stamps nowadays.

The objectives of my work are:

1) to study out the history of cooperation between people on far-away distances many centuries ago;

2) the development of postage in different times;

3) to investigate some interesting facts about the first paper envelope and stamp;

4) to find out how the first letterbox was made;

5) to show the actuality of this topic in modern life.

Hypothesis of my work: I suppose that I will compare the usage of paper letters and modern e-mail messages, analyze the questionnaire of my schoolmates about writing letters by hands, make a scheme about the role of stamp during the history of people’s communication since 2500 B.C., when inc was invented till nowadays messages which connect billions of computers.

Communication in the ancient world, early postage services

Nowadays we take our modern means of communication for granted. But we should not forget older methods. Who knows? One day we may need them again.

The history of communication started long before people invented the alphabet. When people couldn’t read or write they drew pictures on the walls. These pictures told the stories of their everyday life, battles and culture.

Can you imagine your life without post offices? Difficult, isn’t it?

But before they were invented people still wrote letters.

In the ancient world there were thousands of foot messengers who formed an ancient communication network. One of the most famous messengers in history was a Greek soldier. He ran to Athens to bring the news of the Greek victory over the Persians at the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. When he got to Athens and gave the news he fell dead of exhaustion. He had covered a distance of 26 miles. In honor of this soldier sportsmen nowadays run the same distance – a Marathon.

In the Middle Ages life was hard and dangerous. It was very important to have good neighbours and to get news quickly. So people used the high towers of their castles to send and receive messages about the enemies. American Indians didn’t build high towers but used smoke signals to send important information.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, everybody thought that it was a real miracle. The telephone and the telegraph were the fastest means of communication that people could imagine.

In the 19th century people used to say “We have invented everything we could”, but as we know today it was just the beginning.

The oldest mentioning of the mail belong to the time of Assyria and Babylon. The development of the postal service began there, and there envelope – an important element of a letter – was invented, too. As we know the people inhabiting those ancient countries used clay tablets for wedge writing.

After burning tablets were covered with a layer of clay on which the delivery address was then inscribed. The tablets were then burned once again. As a result of water evaporation during the second burning cycle the “letter” and the “envelope” did not melt into a single piece of clay. This provided the privacy of correspondence during those ancient times.

But nearly everywhere in middle ages as well as in the ancient times mail served only the needs of the sovereigns and the people of the highest rank. It had no relevance to common people for a long time. Suffice to say that in the country of the Incas postroads bypassed any villages of common people.

However, they wanted to use mail for their own purposes, too.

First, they privately used merchants for message delivery (“butchers’ mail”), as well as postal services of knighthoods, wandering monks and university messengers. The intensive development of crafts and trade in feudal Europe made its peoples establish regular postal communication between cities. There are documentary evidences of the existence of city messengers in the XIV century. But the most widely known postal service is the mail of the Hanseatic league.

Hanse is a trade and political union of the North-German cities of the XIV-XVII centuries. After the Rhine Confederation being joined to the Hanse the first postal network had appeared: bypassing the borders of minor cities and small principalities it delivered mail all over the territory of Germany. Later, through Nuremberg it was sent to Italy and Venice as well as to Prague, Vein and other cities through Leipzig. And this example shows us already the beginning of the international postal service.

The great paper pyramid

The British were the real trendsetters of the postal service: the first envelope and the first postal stamp appeared in England.

It is interesting to know how various inventions and discoveries appear. Does it happen that a person thinks a lot in front of his desk, makes calculations, designs a bicycle or a telephone, for instance? Of course, no! None of the inventions is made by chance. Any discovery appears only if the society needs it. It often happens that in two different countries two men of genius make one and the same discovery or invention (almost) at the same time. Does this mean that a new invention appears when we need it? It is worth mentioning that this or that invention or discovery appears even earlier, but people pay attention to it, improve it and make use of it only when they actually need it.

The envelope was invented in 1820 in Briton by Mr. Brewer, a paper trader. An idea of a sack for letters made of paper appeared by chance. Once Mr. Brewer, an owner of a paper shop in Briton, decided to refresh his showcases for Christmas. Trade went low lately, and he felt a great need for attracting new clients. But how? Mr. Brewer decided to make a paper pyramid. He put the largest sheets used for printing newspapers at the bottom. In the middle he put smaller pieces for students’ conspectus and letters, and on top he placed the smallest pieces not larger than a business card which could be used for sending Christmas greetings.

His ingenuity did him a good job: people spoke about his pyramid all over Briton. Onlookers crowded his shop constantly. Small cardboard pieces on the top of his pyramid were most asked. They brought him success in his trade and glory of an inventor, and that’s why.

The citizens of Briton used to write on paper of different sizes, but after that Christmas display at the paper shop it became popular to use small pieces of a business-card size for correspondence. The trend became more and more popular even though it was not very convenient: a cardboard letter should have been folded in a form of a sack with a clear side used for writing the address on it, and cardboard broke very often.And then a brilliant idea occurred to Mr. Brewer: he decided to make special sacks and to sell them along with these pieces of paper. At first he made a small lot to give it for free with the sold paper pieces. The innovation was met favourably. After that everybody wanted to send his letters with “Mr. Brewer’s package”. But there were not many of those who wanted to make these sacks. And they could hardly do that well. Predicting success, Mr. Brewer placed an order for his packages to twelve special facilities. He even invented a package-making machine. Later Mr. Brewer’s packages were called “covers” (from the verb “to cover”). That’s how an envelope was invented thanks to an industrious trader and the common addition to new fashion trends.

How the first stamps appeared

Before Sir Rowland Hill came up with his idea of a stamp, very few people in England were able to send and receive letters. People couldn’t pay for their letters in advance, it was the people who received the letters who had to pay for them. The postman took the money when he brought the mail.

Letters were expensive, too. At the beginning of the 19th century a letter cost fourpence for a distance of seven miles. Over seven miles and under fifteen miles it cost sixpence. At that time a worker earned fourpence a day.

In 1837 Sir Rowland Hill, a schoolmaster, published a pamphlet called “Post Office Reform”. The main ideas of the pamphlet were: “Letters shouldn’t be so expensive. The price of a letter shouldn’t be more than one penny. Everybody should be able to send letters”.

That’s how Sir Rowland Hill invented his first official stamp in the World and became “the father of modern post office”.

Rowland Hill, 1795. He was an English educator and administrator, the inventor of the modern mail. He invented the stamp being anxious about the Albion treasury, since the postal service of the time was not perfect, and the treasury suffered greatly from it. In 1837 Rowland Hill published his project named “Post Office reform, its importance and feasibility”. In his project he suggested unifying the postal fees all over the country and to use prepayment with the help of “small pieces of paper suitable for placing a postal stamp on them and covered with glue on one side enabling to stick it to a letter after moistening”. This became the first classical definition for a stamp. Among some other reforms he suggested cancelling the privilege of the members of Parliament and noblemen for free of charge use of the post service. It looks like this very point made Rowland Hill struggle for his reform for three years. Members of Parliament everywhere are alike. As always, the innovation had been strongly criticized. Stamp was called “a mad trick”, “an impossible dream”, “nonsense” and “street chatter”. This lasted for two years, and in1840 Queen Victoria gave her approval of the project being sick of this. The modification of postal rules and the implementation of a stamp allowed to increase dramatically the volumes of correspondence being sent. New uniform postal tariffs had been implemented as well as new “Post Office Labels” as they had been originally called in England, each corresponding to a tariff. Hill abandoned teaching and devoted himself completely to the Post Office reform.

A competition was settled to find the best design of post office labels. The winner was Benjamin Cheverton, whose design included the Queen’s portrait. Of course, he was loyal to the Queen, but the real reason for such a suggestion was not in his patriotic feelings but in the fact that the Queen’s portrait was hard to falsify. He used the portrait of the Queen from the engraving by William Whiten, Henry Corbul copied the profile, Charles and Frederick Heath finished the job. Printing was entrusted to the printing house of Perkins, Beacon and Patch. The stamps had been printed in the relatively cheap technique of high print providing protection from falsifying. The choice of paper and paints was an errand, but the glutinous layer on the reverse side caused even more difficulties. The first stamp appeared in England on the 1st of May, 1840. That’s what Rowland Hill wrote in his diary about that day: “Today first stamps had been issued for the citizens. Great rush at the Post Office.”

By the way, the official date of issue of the first postal stamp is the 6th of May, 1840. Presently about 30-40 letters are known to be sent that day. One of them was sent from Liverpool. And the content is very remarkable. Ms. Sarah Bawlt wrote to her friend Anne Swanwick in London: “Dear Anne! It is my duty to send you a letter on the first day of using postal stamps, as I received some as a gift…” Most probably this gave birth to a tradition of collecting first day envelopes. There is also a letter which had been paid by ten stamps instead of one. It was a letter from a law firm named “Oliverson, Denby and Sevy” in London carrying documents to Scotland. That’s why the payment was so high. There was a clear stamp of a Maltese cross on the envelope with the inscription «LS.6MY6. 1840». It can be considered the originator of the first day stamps.

The first stamp was called “The Black Penny” for its color and value.

A few days later “the Blue Twopence” was introduced.

Simultaneously special black and blue franked envelopes were issued.

The old British monetary system divided one pound into 20 shillings, and one shilling was worth 12 pence. Accordingly, Hill suggested making printed sheets containing 240 stamps. In order to protect stamps from falsification he suggested using letters indicating the place of each stamp on the sheet. As a result the so-called “penny alphabet” appeared, where all 12 stamps of the top row had an “A” in the left bottom corner and a letter from A to L in the right corner, and vertically the letters changed from A to T.

In a year from the moment of introduction of “the Black Penny” a scandal happened: black paint appeared to be insufficiently strong and was easy to falsify, as some officials considered. As a result, since 1841 black paint for one-pence stamps was replaced with red. This gave birth to “the Red Penny”.

Rowland Hill was linked to the post office for almost a quarter of a century, from the moment of introduction of the stamps till 1864, occupying various positions from a secretary to the chief postmaster. On his retirement the Queen awarded him with the Order of the Bath giving him the title of baronet which automatically gave a nobiliary prefix “Sir” to his name, and after his death he was given an honor of burying in the Westminster Abbey. And today the monument to Rowland Hill is a monument to a man who had introduced the postal stamp – “the Black Penny”, as it is called – a black stamp of one pence.

It is necessary to mention that irrespective of the origin each stamp carries the Latin name of the country where it had been issued. If it does not, be aware that the stamp is from the Great Britain. Being the first country using postal stamps The United Kingdom is exempt from the necessity of printing the name of the emitting country.

Of course, English postal stamp was not the only one. One by one, post offices of different countries followed the UK. Here is the sequence of appearance of postal stamps in different European and non-European countries.

1843 — Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland; Brazil1847 — the USA1849 — France, Belgium, Bayern1850 — Austria, Spain, New South Wales and Victoria (first Australian stamps), Saxony, Prussia, etc.1851 — Sardinia, Denmark, Canada 1852 — Papal States, the Netherlands1853 — Cape of Good Hope (Africa's first brand)1854 — India1861 — Italy1866 — Egypt, Honduras, Serbia1868 — Iran1871 — Japan, Hungary1872 — Germany (the stamps of old German states were in use earlier)1878 — China1879 — Bulgaria1894 г. — Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

The mailbox

It goes without saying that the mail box plays a great role in the development of postal service. Some people would be unable to receive letters without it. The mail box relieves people from the necessity to wait in queues to collect their mail. And here is a legend how it first appeared.

Long ago, in 1500, a Portuguese seafarer Bartolomeo Dias got into a storm near the coast of South Africa. All ships were destroyed but one. This last ship was able to reach a calm bay where the seafarer and his men could take rest and cover. Before leaving back one of his officers made a report on the results of the geographical expedition made by Dias. To enable those who would reach the bay after them to read this report the officer took an old boot, put the report into it and hung it on a tree. And this was the first mailbox in the World. The letter contained in it was received by the sailors of captain Joan Da Nova. Da Nova made an expedition through the Indian Ocean and decided to enter a small bay for rest and cover where his men found a letter in a boot. Following Da Nova’s order his sailors built a chapel on the shore, and a European town gradually was built around it. And the boot of that officer hung there for a long time serving as a mailbox.

Long afterwards on that very place in Mossel Bay settlers built a monument to the first mailbox. It was made of concrete and served a practical purpose of collecting post messages; still, it has a form of a Portuguese boot and reminds of a remarkable event.

That’s the story of the mailbox. And in honor of Dias and his expeditions a stamp was issued. Stamps with the portrait of Bartolomeo Dias are very rare.

The contemporary envelopes serve not only for correspondence. They are widely used in advertisement, because many people can see pictures printed on them. An envelope with a corporate logo fits corporate image greatly. And sending corporate mail in own envelopes with company logo on it adds to the sender’s authority.

Computers are widely spread today, and they allow us to exchange messages almost immediately, but anyway people from all over the world send letters to one another using paper and envelopes. The postal service delivers letters in envelopes with stamps, and the only information you can see on the envelope is the address of the sender and the recipient. All the rest is for the addressee’s eyes only!


Some fifty years ago people hadn’t even heard of computers and today we cannot imagine our life without them. Computer technology is now the fastest growing industry in the world. The first computer was the size of a mini bus and weight a ton. Today this job can be done by a chip the size of a pinhead, and the revolution is still going on. Very soon we’ll have computers that we will wear on our wrists or even in our glasses and earrings. Such wearable computers are now being developed. People send e-mail messages more often than they make telephone calls.

As you see from my investigation scheme, questionnaire of the pupils and the comparative diagram, paper letters with stamps on them are very rare now. Maybe official letters are still required but not private ones. It’s a pity because how happy we are when we receive beautiful Christmas cards, colorful Valentines in honor of St. Valentine’s day, silver shining envelopes with greetings for the New Year’s day, envelopes with portraits of the soldiers of the World War II on the Victory day and so on.

I don’t believe that people will forget one of the most interesting discoveries of the British: the postage and the stamp. I believe that people of the 21st century are not robots, but they are really human beings.


1. “Happy English.ru”, К.И. Кауфман, М.Ю. Кауфман, 2006 г. Изд-во «Титул», 8 класс

2. Рабочаятетрадькучебнику “Happy English.ru”, К.И. Кауфман, М.Ю. Кауфман, 2006 г. Изд-во «Титул», 8 класс

3. Методические указания к практическим работам на тему "Jobs in IT" http://metod-kopilka.ru

4. Английский язык для школьников и поступающих в ВУЗы http://scriru.com

5. What does @ mean? Grammar Артикль — Гипермаркет знаний http://school.xvatit.com

6. Русский Дом Russian Speaking Community, Russian community in Atlanta, Русская газета в Атланте, Новости, Реклама, Обзоры, Интервью, Аналитика, Знакомства в Америке


7. Энциклопедия вещей. История вещей, изобретений, открытий




Рецензия на работу

«История почтовой службы, марок и конвертов»

Темой характеризуемой работы стала история почтовой службы, марок, конвертов. Автор поставил перед собой цель получить, обобщить и систематизировать информацию по этой теме, что и было выполнено. Работа даёт возможность значительно расширить представление о том, как люди общались с древних времён и до наших дней.

Подобная работа важна ещё и потому, что через неё ученица учится искать информацию, выделять наиболее существенную её часть и выражать своё отношение к объекту своей работы на изучаемом языке.

Работа состоит из трёх разделов: вступление, содержательная часть, в которой автор собрал и обобщил информацию по изучаемой теме, и заключение, в котором автор говорит о важности и значении почтовой службы в наши дни. В работе использована диаграмма развития почтовой службы с 1900 г. по наше время. Проанализирована важность использования марки, произведён опрос школьников на предмет написания и получения обычных писем.

В заключительной части работы автор говорит о том, что в век развития современных коммуникационных технологий не стоит забывать о написании писем, в которые человек вкладывает душу, и в которых заключается история и культура традиционных писем.

Исходя из вышеизложенного, следует сделать вывод, что работа в структурном плане закончена. При её составлении автор продемонстрировал умение сочетать информативность и личное отношение к рассматриваемой теме.

Что же касается информативности работы, то можно заключить, что был проработан большой объём материала как из учебных пособий, так и из всемирной паутины. Подразделы содержат исчерпывающие данные по освещаемому вопросу. Избранная тема раскрыта полностью. Рассматриваемая тема может быть использована в качестве дополнительного материала для работы с учащимися 7-8 классов средней школы.

Руководитель проекта Калиниченко Нина Петровна


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