Thursday, June 12, 2008

History of Aviation through philately

History of aviation can be graphically depicted through philately: stamps, postmarks, special covers etc.

Where does the history of flight start? Man has always been fascinated by the ability of birds to glide through air so effortlessly and has dreamed of flying from earliest times. The earliest record of flight is in Greek mythology. The story of Daedalus and Icarus is well known. Imprisoned on the island of Crete Daedalus who must have been an accomplished inventor, planned their escape by making wings of wax and feathers. They attached these wings and flew away. Unfortunately Icarus, though warned against it, flew too close and the sun melted the wax on his wings and he fell to his death. However, Daedalus was successful in flying to Italy as the legend goes.

A 1935 stamp issued by Greece
depicts Daedalus preparing Icarus for
their flight.

A 1932 stamp issued by
Latvia shows Icarus
flying close to the sun.

Icarus in flight. set issued on 11th April, 1924 for flights between Budapest-Vienna, Germany, France, Poland and Belgium.

Another famous airman of Greek mythology is Hermes or Mercury who was a messenger of the Gods and is often shown on stamps as being symbolic of the post. He was provided with winged sandals and winged head dress in order that he may virtually fly with his messages.

Mercury depicted on a Curacao airmail stamp of 1931.

Hermes in flight shown on a Greece stamp, part of a 1935 Airmail set. The wings on his footwear and headgear are clearly depicted.

1935 Canadian stamp showing Daedalus in flight.

Birds, as symbols of flight and thus of airmails, have been depicted on many stamps.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cancelled airmail etiquettes

Some canceled etiquettes etc......

Cover from Dar es Salaam, East Africa. airmail etiquette has been canceled at Bombay on 27 OCT 34. Square strike.

Cover flow on the second experimental airmail to Gaza, Palestine. Note the airmail etiquette has been canceled with two red bars.

A registered cover from Mombasa to Cutch Mandvi (stamped on reverse) where the label is rubber stamped "BY AIRMAIL" in red. Postmark 30 MY 47.

1931 flight covers with different airmail etiquettes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Airmail Etiquettes (Labels )

As the use of airmail started gaining popularity there was a need to alert postal authorities that the mail was to be sent by air. Hence, mails were super scribed with the words “by air mail”. Soon air mails labels or etiquettes as they are called were issued, first by postal authorities and soon by airlines, hotels etc as these etiquettes did not have any value. Airmail etiquettes were soon issued in attractive colors and in a variety of shapes. Each country issued labels in their own language but the works “air mail” or “par avion” were mentioned on all etiquettes. Basic colors of blue, red & white somehow became the standard for all airmail etiquettes. Many countries cancelled or postmarked the label, perhaps that these should not be reused in the mistaken belief that etiquettes should be treated in same way as stamps.

Etiquettes issued by various airlines:

Airmail cover from Vienna to Bombay via Karachi. The airmail etiquette has been canceled at Karachi on 17th October, 1931.

Cover is postmarked at Vienna on 7.X.31 which must be the date of posting, but has actually been dispatched by airmail on 11.X.31 as seen by the circular postmark "WIEN 11.X.31 Flugpost"