Rural Postal Vehicle Drawn by a Single Horse - Miniature Sheet
Rural Postal Vehicle Drawn by a Single Horse - Miniature Sheet for only GBP £1.94
As part of the “Historical Postal Vehicles” series, a rural postal vehicle drawn by a single horse of the type used to deliver post in the countryside is being presented. The stamp design is based on a lithograph by A. Fachini.
The stamp block depicts a small, very simple construction, biaxial vehicle with four wheels and no roof, drawn by a single horse. The postillion sits on his bench, with
the so-called “Felleisen” (from the French word “valise”), a leather travelling bag used by the postal service as a container to collect postal items, in front of him. On this,
the 1884 manual “lessons on the postal delivery service on the roads” states:
“… The vehicle intended for the transport of letters and couriers should be of the lightest construction typical for that country, but must be designed such that the Felleisen can be properly stored in it and protected against loss or damage as far as possible, for which reason the vehicle should either be constructed in the style of a cariole or, if open, must be supplied with a chain to fasten the Felleisen in place and a cover to protect it against damp. … The Felleisen for letters must be stored inside the vehicle such that it is protected against damp and abrasion and must be secured against loss, meaning that in an open vehicle it must be stored in such a way that the postillion always has it in sight. A Felleisen may never be stored outside the vehicle, that is to say, on the front or back of the vehicle.” The transportation of letters up to
a total weight of 110 kilogrammes was to be undertaken using a single horse, and, of course, the weight of the postillion was not included in this.
The driver of the postal vehicle is dressed in a postillion’s uniform which had existed since 1838. He is wearing the “gala uniform”: a red jacket, light coloured leather trousers, black boots and a black bicorne hat. The post horn is slung over his shoulder on a lanyard. There was also a less ornate uniform intended for everyday service, made from a dark grey material with red cuffs and silver trim, worn with trousers reinforced with leather. On the stamp design it can clearly be seen that the postillion has a pipe in his mouth, although there were strict regulations about this. So, for example, if there were passengers present, the postal worker was only allowed to smoke with their express permission.
The rough design of the vehicle is clearly recognisable on the block of stamps. A journey on such a simple postal vehicle was undoubtedly a bumpy affair, and with only one horse to draw it, it was probably none too quick.