Tuesday 17 December 2019

How Royal Mail achieve the perfect handstamp on FDCs

Have you ever wondered why Royal Mail's special one-day handstamps are generally so much
better than those of some (but not all) other countries with a lot of fine detail? 

I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but can't find it on the blog.  In fact, they are not handstamps at all, but are applied by foot- and hand-operated machines.

You can read a detailed description here in our reference area. This is a pdf file, so you can download it, or read it in your web browser, depending on your system settings.

The article is copyright Royal Mail, 1993 & 2007, reproduced by kind permission.

A newer version of the machines used at Special Handstamp Centres was in use at Europhilex at the Business Design Centre in May 2015.

When the pad is inked up with the postmark design, the operator positions the cover/card in the right place and depresses the foot-pedal, and the pad descends and applies the postmark in the desired position.  A light assists in this process, as this video shows.

As far as I know this type of machine has not been taken into use.  I must ask next time I call the London Handstamp Centre.

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