Should there be a global postal system

The mail transport

In the course of time, the development of postal transport for every age has had several distinctive forms of evolution, which can be summarized as follows:

1) In the first period, mail transport was free and open to anyone who wanted to take care of it: each city had its own messengers, as well as the merchants who gathered to entrust their letters to the private messengers.
The messengers were on strategic points and when they got the letters they left for their destinations. The princes exchanged news with their messengers; the pilgrims took care of having the letters delivered to the cities on their way; the universities organized their messengers who maintained cultural contacts with other universities, as did the Conventual Brothers;

2) A few centuries later, the rulers realized the importance of controlling postal traffic as both a source of income and a source of information. They claimed the royal right to administer mail in monopoly (jus post);

3) Many postal areas were added for each individual state: the letters were passed from one state to another in exchange for money, thus eliminating the need for early agreements between states to regulate the delivery of letters;

4) Between 1700 and 1800 there was a huge exchange of letters as a result of the same development in industrial society. The traditional postal system fell into crisis, forcing governments to reorganize postal traffic. In the beginning the postage stamp was introduced as a simplification of the whole system, then the basis of the "UPU", Universal Postal Union, was established with the aim of a unified global postal system.
(Adriano Cattani, the museum director of the Tasso family and postal history).

The transport of letters: the epic of the stagecoach

Stagecoach of the early nineteenth century

Mail transport has also undergone numerous changes over the centuries.
Soon the horse became insufficient to ensure an efficient transport system: this animal does not have much strength and after a gallop it needs rest. After that, at the time of its use of messengers, it caused delays. In addition, in the case of snow or river crossing, the horse had no advantage but rather disrupted the regular running.
For these reasons, it was necessary to add such post stations along the way so that the horse was immediately replaced by another fresh and rested in order to resume the route with full efficiency.
The post stations were built at a constant distance from each other (approx. 20 km) and some people were responsible for ensuring that the horses were always rested for the messengers.
Soon, however, the horse wasn't enough, because in addition to the letters, the couriers were also responsible for transporting packages, so they needed more space.
The stagecoach was introduced in this way, and soon also used to transport some passengers, of course for a fee.

Stagecoach half of the eighteenth century

The post stations were turned into restaurants, hotels and horse-changing places where passengers could rest and eat.
Even today many traces of these post stations can be found along the main streets, such as hotels and restaurants under the title "Die Post", in memory of their ancestors, who often had their headquarters in the same building.
The stagecoaches got bigger and bigger to accommodate more travelers. They often adopted various names that have remained to this day (e.g. the omnibus was a specially created stagecoach for passengers, and its name still refers to certain means of passenger transport; as well as the auotobus, whose name is given to the passenger bus, which does nothing different from the means of transport that the carriage replaced after the introduction of the engine).

Mail train of the early nineteenth century

The post in step with the times: the railroad

The need for ever faster and safer postal services kept the postal service in step with the times at all times.

The invention of the steam engine, which happened in the first years of '800, gave a strong impetus to the improvement of mail delivery, namely the ships that regularly traveled along the Italian coast and the railroad, which was the new "iron railway" at the time. said invention with steam engine.

The invention of the railroad, which happened in England in the early years of the '800, quickly spread across Europe, where governments vied to build new railways, namely railways, that could guarantee a faster speed than the stagecoach.

The horse mode of transport soon fell into disuse, at least along the main routes, and was replaced by the new means that could reach unthinkable speeds and that united cities much more easily and with little inconvenience for passengers.

The railroad was also used by the post office to carry mail bags. It was even decided to build real mail cars where the letters were "worked". The letters evaded the post office and were received directly in the mail car. Then they were divided according to the destination, and finally transported and delivered to the recipients.

The development of the railways in Europe during 1800 allowed the postal service to develop in a similar manner. The post stations were replaced by the railway stations (although the name "station") and contacts between the citizens of Europe were expanded and facilitated.

Swiss Post in step with the times: navigation

The letters often also traveled by ships, especially on long journeys, considering that the roads were usually not wide (very often boat transport was preferred because rivers, streams and canals that were already prepared by nature were no or rare structures and little maintenance required).

All states that looked out to sea had seaports, more or less large, where ships docked and transported many important goods. Merchants distributed the goods from these ports to the various markets of Europe.

The captains of ships were often commissioned by the merchants to carry the letters against payment, and this was not allowed by the authorities, but tolerated because there were no valid alternatives for the transport of the letters across the sea

Eighteenth century Italian mail ship
When the steam engine was introduced in the early years of the '800, it was lodged in the ships so that the sails, a little at a time, got useless. All the maritime traffic changed: the navigation became faster because the engine had a higher power than the wind force exerted on the sails developed; it became safer and more constant, because it was no longer dependent on the whims of the wind.In addition, the ships pushed by the engine became more spacious and larger in order to contain more and more goods and passengers.

The post office too soon began to use the new means, and it was often determined by the need for the continuous improvement of the post office that the governments themselves sometimes (as during the newly born kingdom of Italy, 1861) entrusted the post office with the burden of state contributions. to create new stronger ships, new operations and a new shipping line.

The following companies: Ribattino von Genova, Florio von Palermo and the Austrian Lloyd von Trieste, became very well known in this company in Italy and they signed favorable conventions with the respective governments for the management of large shipping lines and the associated postal services.

(Adriano Cattani, the museum director of the Tasso family and postal history).