By: F. Aleem Sundal
The aerogramme was born out of necessity. During the Franco- Prussian war in contact with the outside world. Balloons and messages to and from the sources for carrying messages to and from the surrounded city. That made the light-weight mail a compulsion.
Air letter Sheets, as they were called at that time, were produced privately, but received official sanction immediately. Their shape was that of a modified reply post card with one closing flap. They were in different colours but bore two distinct inscriptions;” Par Balloon Monte”(if the balloon was piloted)) or “Par Balloon”-via balloon.
The first balloon to carry mail from
After the emergency was over air letter sheets were required no more. But the concept had proved its utility as the most convenient form of moving large quantity of mail by a limited carrier to any destination.
Regular airmail service began in 1911. But the air letter sheets reappeared in 1929 in
All these novelties printed so far carried no face value. The sender had to affix postage stamps in accordance with the postal tariff.
All this time, the use of air letter sheets was not completely discarded. Such a light weight letter writing system could’ not be abandoned and these sheets remained in use by military personnel in many countries, mainly in South East Asia and the
With the outbreak of World War I, the need for a light-weight form of specific size was realized and use of air letters increased again. To provide a cheap and rapid means of communication between soldiers and their families (as and aid to maintain morale) the postal rates were reduced and air letters were made more attractive by printing pictures and views on them.
The inscription “Air-o-gram” was first employed by
Aerogramme used during the world war II by the British Army personnel were printed with dark screens on the writing side of the sheet to prevent the text being seen once the letter was closed. For the same reason, aerogramme was folded twice and both outer sides were printed with straight lines for the addresses.
By the end of the War, the aerogramme had established itself all over the world. The facility was also extended to the general public, even though the aerogramme did not catch on instantly, inspite of its being cheaper than the air mail letter rate.
Air letter sheets gained official recognition from the Universal Postal Union at its 13th Congress held in