The theme this week over at Sunday Stamps hosted by See it on a Postcard is “inventions/discoveries”. My mind went straight to this set of GB commemoratives when I read the topic, so I thought I would once again share them exactly as mounted in my teenage stamp album. This particular pair, with its unusually long and thin stamps – measuring 72mm (h) x 20mm (v) – proved slightly tricky to present, and as you will notice, I was forced to overlap two Hawid mounts. At the time of issue these were the widest stamps ever produced by the Royal Mail. I remember absolutely loving these stamps as a child, and looking at them now, almost 40 years later, I still do, representing as they do, a fascinating glimpse at what was considered state of the art technology back then!
Issued on 8 September 1982, these stamps celebrated the growing role of computers in modern life and marked Information Technology Year. They were designed by Delaney and Ireland with illustrations by Brian Delf, and even employed early computer-assisted design. The birth of the World Wide Web was still seven years away, so the technology illustrated looks really rather quaint! And there are some real doozies in the Presentation Pack that illustrate how old-fashioned gender roles were still firmly entrenched in the early 1980s!
The two stamps illustrate cutting-edge technology throughout history spread over two stamps:
- 15½p – The Development of Communications: papyrus scrolls featuring ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics; a library; and a word processor.
- 26p – Modern Technological Aids: a Viewdata machine set up for Prestel; an Intelpost satellite (International Electronic Post); and a barcode reading laser pen in use in a supermarket.
More from the presentation pack … Who remembers the fax machine?
The second stamp included a shameless plug for Prestel (from the words “press” and “telephone”), the brand name for the UK Post Office’s own subscriber-based Viewdata technology. Again, from the presentation pack, one gets a sense of these technologies being the forerunners of the on-line services we enjoy today.
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