Wednesday, September 19, 2012

News of the week...

98 Years Old Bottle Mail : History of mail re-discovered

Normally with invent of new technological systems, sending message or mail takes literally no time. But in the initial years of sending messages, lots of innovative methods were used which included bottle mail too.Recently, a Scottish fisherman Andrew Leaper, found a bottle containing a message or bottle mail in Shetland sea while he was skipping his fishing boat. This drift bottle contained a post card which promised a reward of six pence to the finder - was released in June 1914 by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation. Which was found after 98 years in safe condition.

It was in a batch of 1,890 scientific research bottles which were specially designed to sink to help map the currents of the seas around Scotland when they were returned. Only 315 of them have so far been found. Mr Leaper, 43, who found the bottle east of Shetland, explained: "As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea. He further added that that was very exciting to find the bottle and he couldn't wait to open it.
The story of scientific drift bottles is a fascinating one and harks back to an area when in the beginning those were used to understand the complexities of the seas.
It is amazing that nearly 98 years on bottles are still being found and returned to the Marine Laboratory in such fantastic condition.

- Naresh Agarwal

Stamp and Coin Fair in Kolkata from 5 - 7 October 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Philatelic Knowledge


- Madan Middha

The India Post has introduced Remotely Managed Franking Machines (RMFMs) in place of existing Electronic Franking Machines with effect from 16.8.2010. Meter Marks or the frankings of the new machines are in Blue colour instead of the usual red and indicate class of article, pin code, authentication code, date of frank, mail item number, license identifier number,
frank value and a 2D bar code.
These are printed on the articles using the Inkjet technology, unlike the older machines fitted with impact printing/technique of franks. These are duplex marks having two parts, first details part on the left and second denomination part, on the right. Different components of these marks are explained hereunder :

1. Class of Article
P for Postcard, ILC for Inland Latter Card, L for Letter, BP for Book Post, RL for Registered Letter, SP for Speed post and so on.
2. Pin Code of the Originating Post Office
3. Date of Meter Franking
4. Authentication Code
The authentication code is seen in three settings in these meter marks. First is all numbers, the second is all alphabets and the third is a hybrid, having an alpha-numerical setting. It uses Hexa-decimal format i.e. formation with A to F alphabets and 0 to 9 numbers. The code contains an info-mix of License Identifier, Item Number, Frank Value, Date, Time of frank, Pincode and authenticates the frank. It is considered virtually unbreakable.
5. Mail Item Number
6. 2D Barcode
2D bar code contains important information encoded therein viz ascending and descending meter readings, class of article, number of items, pin code number, value of frank and license identifier number. 2D bar code can also be scanned to check the genuineness of the frank impression.
7. Sovereign Mark
8. Denomination (Value) of the Meter Mark
9. Users' License Identification Number
This number also has two parts, first a letter (9a), which denotes the initials of the original Equipment Manufacturer i.e. 'F' for Francotyp Postalia, 'N' for Neopost and 'P' for Pitney Bowes and after that (9b), six numeric digits which indicate serial number of the machine, which has made the mark..