The Invention of the Envelope
Communications have changed dramatically since the 10th century with the rise of the Internet and email, however one thing remains the envelope. Humble in its intentions but essential the envelope has stood the test of time and is known all around the world. The idea of protecting a letter inside a purpose made paper cover was developed in the 10th century and has been used ever since. All throughout the 15th and 16th century the sender was responsible for making their own handmade envelopes.
Developments in technology meant that by 1845 there was a steam driven machine that was capable of cutting the paper and folding it into the correct shape of an envelope. Experts claim that it was William Irwin Martin who was responsible for creating the commercial sizes of envelopes that we are familiar with today. However can/should/will the design ever be improved on? The current design of the envelope is the simplest design needed for the purpose and it has been used for hundreds of years so why improve on perfection? Envelopes have been the vehicle for news at many dramatic moments in history and many individuals have received life changing information in these little paper packages.
The arrival of envelopes through the post can evoke many emotions such as dread, hope, uncertainty, happiness or sadness. After all they could include a part invitation or divorce papers... One change that has happened to the envelope is seen in the increase in the number of coloured envelopes. It is now possible to send purple envelopes, orange envelopes or pink envelopes.
Any colour you can imagine! We are all guilty of receiving piles of white envelopes with typed addresses, skipping through them and knowing that most will be bills. But how excited do we get when we see a coloured envelope amongst the pile? It is automatically separated and gets priority on the off chance it may be an invitation or a greeting card. Although similar to white, even cream envelopes attract attention in that pile of post!
Colour envelopes allow you to stand out from the crowd so next time you are sending a letter, a party invitation or a birthday card just spare a thought for those people who had to make their own envelopes and break the mould by putting it in a coloured envelope!