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Sunday, 29 November 2009

Another Superseded Technology

Rummaging through our stationery drawer this morning, looking for a suitably sized envelope, it occurred to me that most of the difference between a tidy drawer and what we actually have was the pile of old aerogrammes at the back. Actually two piles, I suppose: the one that I'd bought to our marriage, and the one that Julie had. We've been living together for over 15 years now, but I doubt if we've used a single aerogramme in all that time.

For those of you too young to remember aerogrammes (which seems to include the Blogger spellchecker), they are (were?) very thin pieces of blue letter paper, carefully shaped with gummed edges that allowed the aerogramme to be folded in three to form its own envelope, which would then be posted to exotic destinations around the world. The light weight of the paper, and the prohibition on any enclosures, made them ideal for air mail.

I do have friends in foreign parts, but, apart from the annual Xmas card, anything I send to them goes over the internet nowadays. I don't even know how well an aerogramme would go through a laser printer (okay, I do now: not too badly, except you need a larger top margin).

Most of our aerogrammes are postage prepaid, which will make parting with them a little painful, but the hard truth is that we'll get more utility out of them by freeing up some space in a drawer than by leaving them there untouched for another fifteen years.

Putting them into the recycling bin (where else?), I notice that on one of the packs there's a 50th Anniversary message (1943 - 1993): "50 years ago, when Churchill was Prime Minister, Aerogrammes took off as a vital means of communication." It finishes off with, "Aerogrammes - still the easy way to keep in touch."

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