Envelopes, thick and lean

Envelopes, thick and thin

I’ve fallen way behind on my blog reading, so it was only recently that I witnessed this good post at the Missive Maven about a handmade airmail envelope.

It got me thinking about the envelopes I received growing up from my relatives in Germany — tissue-thin, pallid blue paper with that unmistakable blue-and-red border and a Par Avion/Luftpost sticker or stamp. In general, thicker is better when it comes to stationery, but those envelopes were weirdly strong. Still, they seem to have gotten less common, at least judging from the correspondence I now get from friends and family in Europe the envelopes are mostly plain white, and they’re no thinner than their American counterparts. Another casualty, perhaps, of the fresh global standardization. Ah, well. I miss the old ones.

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6 thoughts on “ Envelopes, thick and lean ”

OMG! The airmail letters from Germany! The tissue-thin paper, with writing down the page, and then along the margins in fountain pen. It certainly took me back to those years at the kitchen table, waiting for the mail. Thanks for reminding me!

Thanks for the nod and the link!

The entire «airmail envelope» and label concept is actually fairly in vogue, it seems. It’s a popular theme for etsy stationery, and there is a entire group dedicated to it on Flickr (of which I am of course a member):

I certainly understand and appreciate your nostalgia for the good ol’ days. I reminisce the aerogrammes we used to send letters abroad! And nowadays, I’m attempting to collect unused vintage stationery, especially old air mail paper and envelopes. Evidently, so are a lot of other people, judging by the premium vintage air mail envelopes can instruction these days.

Hello. I happen to have alot of old airmail letters. they even have the stamps on them. they are letters from Germany.ect. There is a romantic story behind those letters that I have. I also have stamps. ect. When jeanine passsed away. she left me with old postcards. letters. stampos. coins. old perfume, vintage jewerly. vintage makeup. vintage cameras. Pictures of her.(the pictures are pretty thick) old records. well. all I can say is that I have alot of vintage things. I am not indeed into all that. I do how however save stamps and coins. I do not know how much her items are worth… maybe you can help me. Thank you for your time. Rhonda ceramic42@msn.com. ooooh yeah. I also have paper think paper

I’ve read that in England the rates for airmail were much higher than for mailing by ship — both were 1-1/Two p for the very first ounce and 1p/every extra ounce, but airmail had an extra surcharge of 6p per 1/Two ounce. A one ounce letter would have cost 1.5p for shipped mail but 13.5p for airmail.

I would guess USA and the rest of the world had similar set ups.

IIRC, you also had to affix decent ground postage for the country you were sending the mail to (in addition to paying postage and surchange in the country you were sending the mail from).

I have an old box of onionskin paper for airmail letters that had been my mother’s.

I have some actual airmail envelopes at home. I need to bring a box to me with school next time I visit and begin using them….

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