First off, loyal reader, Happy Thanksgiving. It has been 20 years since I launched Philosateleia, and I never cease to be amazed at how many folks have taken an interest in my website. Thank you for your support.
Now, for today’s featured item, we have a new stamp from Como Park Post out of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The 3¢ design is printed in green on yellow paper, and was issued November 13.
As I’m mentioned before, Como Park Post operator Tom B. handcarves the wood blocks he uses to print his stamps. It’s an approach that hearkens back to some of the earliest postage stamps created in the 19th century, and one can’t help but be impressed!
Bat’s Private Post issues stamp picturing The Boy on the Seahorse
Bat’s Private Post out of Beverly Hills, California, recently issued a new official stamp. Although the first day of issue was September 8, a postcard bearing a copy of the stamp arrived in my post office box only within the past week.
This postcard was mailed from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the stamp pictures a sculpture there: The Boy on the Seahorse by Rafael Zamarripa. The stamp is tied by several Bat’s Private Post postmarks and cancellations.
The new stamp is labeled “Inter-office Post,” indicating its intended use for official business, and it appears to be die cut with scalloped corners.
Blacksmith Shop Bridge appears on Purgatory Post stamp
New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post on October 19 issued the latest in its series of stamps picturing New Hampshire’s covered bridges, the first new release in the series in over a year. The 21-sola stamp pictures the Blacksmith Shop Bridge in Cornish.
The 96-foot long Blacksmith Shop Bridge, also known as the Kenyon Bridge, was built in 1882 for the princely sum of $873. The bridge was closed in 1974 due to wear, but following restoration in the 1980s, it was reopened to foot traffic only.
According to information provided by Purgatory Post operator Scott A., the bridge got its name due to its close proximity to a shop operated by a blacksmith named John Fellows.
Chambers Stamp Factory key part of postmark history
As a local post enthusiast and a holder of a mailer’s postmark permit #1 in Floresville, Texas, I’ve often wished I could acquire a steel postmarking device like the ones used by postmasters during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern rubber stamps function adequately, and they’re inexpensive, but the impressions they stamp lack the clean lines of those produced with steel handstamps.
What I didn’t realize until recently was that from the late 1860s until the early 1930s, a single company was responsible for producing steel postmarks for the United States Post Office: the Chambers Stamp Factory, which was based near Callao, Virginia. An article in The House & Home Magazine provides background information about the company’s founder and operations.
The Chambers Stamp Factory closed in 1932 after another company that you’re more likely to have heard of won the Post Office’s contract for producing handstamps. The Pitney-Bowes Company produced rubber stamps, and could do so at a much lower price than what Chambers had charged for its employees to chisel steel postmarks by hand.
It’s kind of sad in a way that a company that had been in operation for decades could be run out of business so quickly, but such is progress, and the Post Office’s migration from steel handstamps to rubber is just another part of the story of our stamp collecting hobby.