Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obituary for Stamp Vending Machines

Will Atkins recently wrote this "obituary" for stamp vending machines in the Austin, Texas, Oak Hill Gazette....

"The stamp vending machines were first introduced back in 1908, and were touted as vendors of 'sanitary stamps. In the late 1800's it was believed that most diseases could be spread easily by germs through casual contact.

"The Washington Post warned stamp lickers in 1896 to beware 'THE DEADLY STAMP!' And told its readers: 'Postage Stamp Tongue is a new disease.' Symptoms of the disease included a sore tongue covered with red spots.

"The article advised: 'Never lick a postage stamp with your tongue…it shows a great lack of cleanliness and hygienic knowledge.' The worst place to buy a stamp was believed to be the corner drug store, where stamps were often kept in a drawer with loose change (another source of deadly germs).

"Stamps bought directly from postal clerks might be a little safer, but were still believed to harbor whole colonies of deadly tuberculosis, diphtheria and typhoid germs. Enter the stamp vending machines, the silent salesman of sanitary stamps.

"And now exit the stamp vending machine, never to return."

To read his entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM