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A red letter day for Postal department
October 24, 2005 19:55 IST
The old familiar red coloured letter boxes which adorned Indian streets for more than a century will soon be replaced by larger fibre glass bodied containers that would enable posting of larger mails.
The new look rectangular letterboxes are being inducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Patna to begin with, the government said.
The new box, developed with the help of Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai has high quality brush stainless steel with a fibre glass top and would last for 20 years.
It would be rust proof, reduce the maintenance requirements and display information relating to hours of clearance and much more in a more accessible and readable manner.
With a larger inlet aperture the box would allow comfortable posting of larger mail articles.
''The postbox would be in line with the department's efforts to create a more contemporary, aesthetic and professional image starting from the sesquicentennial year,'' the minister said.
A set of four commemorative stamps depicting letterboxes down the ages has been released at the ceremony.
Though the shape and size of letterbox has changed over time, its purpose continues to be relevant.
Combining functionality and symbolising the prerogative of the state as the sole provider of postal services, letterboxes are more ubiquitous and visible than any other symbol of state across the globe.
Originated in the 17th Century, and called 'Stone Post' the Dutch and English ships making voyages around the Cape of Good Hope stopped at the cape for supplies and fresh water.
The sailor would leave their letters under a big stone, from where they were collected by ships going in the opposite direction.
It is said France was the first country to introduce roadside letter boxes in 1653, followed by Germany and Belgium.
The first pillar letterbox erected in England in 1853 and imported later to India in 1856 was called the Victorian Letter Box.
The lotus type letterbox, also known as Penfold letterbox after its designer, followed this.
It was during this time that red came to be adopted as the standard colour for letterboxes.
In 1879, a cylindrical Letterbox was adopted universally including in India and had continued to be used till to date in the country.