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.

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